6 Ways to Avoid an Accident with a Semi-Truck
In the United States, there are 15.5 million trucks in operation. Two million of these are tractor-trailers, also known as semi-trucks, and they drive the same roadways that you drive. So, how can you avoid an accident with a semi-truck that is nearly 25 times the size of your vehicle? Here are some driving strategies that you should use.
Driving defensively around semi-trucks seems like an obvious tip; however, many people get in accidents simply by not paying attention. You should be aware of your surroundings. You should also be aware of how others are driving so that you will know how to respond. If a semi-truck isn’t using turn signals, is swerving, or speeding, you should stay back. If their driving is especially erratic, call the police to report it—the driver could be using their phone, falling asleep, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Avoid Blind Spots
Semi-trucks have a lot of blind spots. Unless you can see their side mirrors, there’s a good chance you’re in their blind spot. Stay back at least 200 feet from the rear of a truck or 20 feet in front in order to be seen. You should also try to pass on the left side of a truck because the right side is significantly harder for them to see.
If you need to pass a semi-truck, remember to pass on the left, use your turn signal, and move quickly. You don’t want to linger next to a large truck, which can be difficult to control, especially in wind, snow, rain, or ice. You also run the risk of being in the blind spot if you take too long to get around a semi. It is equally important not to cut in front of a semi too closely. These large trucks take much longer to stop than your vehicle does, so you need to give them plenty of room.
Use Your Turn Signals
Using your turn signals may seem like another obvious tip, but many drivers forget to do so or even think that they don’t need to signal. A semi not only takes longer to stop—it also takes longer to turn, swerve, or accelerate. It’s important to let semis and other drivers know if you’re about to pass or turn to give them plenty of time to react.
Don’t Follow Too Closely
Just as a semi-truck needs more time to stop, you need ample time to stop as well. That’s why you shouldn’t follow too closely to a semi or anyone else. The height and size of a semi can block your view of what’s happening ahead. If there’s road work or a red light, you might not see it if you’re following too closely. You will also be positioning yourself directly in a semi’s blind spot if you follow too closely, which is especially hazardous when they turn. Semi-trucks make much wider turns than you, and you could get hit much easier if you’re following too closely.
Turn Off Your High Beams
Many semi-truck drivers are on the road for long hours. Fatigue, combined with bright lights, can affect their vision easily. Be sure to turn off your high beams when one is approaching so that you don’t blind them and cause an accident.
Call a Personal Injury Law Firm
If you’re hurt in an accident with a semi-truck, call a personal injury law firm. You might think that insurance or a police officer can handle the legal issues of an accident; however, there might be confusion as to whether the driver or the driver’s employer is responsible for compensating you. A personal injury law firm will have personal injury lawyers or even a truck accident injury lawyer who can research, file a claim, and even go to court if necessary. An accident with a semi-truck can cause more severe injuries than an accident with a smaller vehicle, and, in some instances, insurance won’t cover the entire cost. You may need a personal injury law firm if this occurs.
Sometimes, accidents are inevitable. However, if you drive a little more cautiously, especially around semi-trucks, you might be able to keep yourself and your loved ones just a little bit safer.