When you see a commercial truck on the road or highway up ahead, you might get understandably worried about the chances of getting into a truck accident. After all, some of the worst traffic collisions are caused by negligent semi-truck drivers.
Rather than getting scared when seeing a big rig, get cautious. With some precautions and driving safety knowledge, you can share the road with commercial trucks and minimize your risks of getting into a crash.
Beware Big Blind Spots
When you are driving your passenger vehicle, you know about the blind spots that can hide a car and make changing lanes, turning, and merging dangerous. There is one behind each shoulder, requiring you to turn after checking your side mirrors. There can also be one directly behind your vehicle, depending on its size and the design of the back window.
Commercial trucks have these blind spots, too, except they are much bigger and there is another one directly in front of the truck. The blind spots a trucker experiences to the left, front, and behind can hide one or two cars on average. The blind spot to the right is comparatively enormous, though, stretching over multiple lanes and capable of hiding several cars at once.
You should try not to stay too close to a tractor-trailer for too long. If you can, position your vehicle where you can see the truck’s side mirrors, which means the trucker should be able to see you.
No Reverse Tailgating
Tailgating is a dangerous driving habit that involves following another motorist too closely. Reverse tailgating happens when you stay too closely in front of a driver behind you, giving them no opportunity to distance themselves from you.
Reverse tailgating is especially dangerous when considering big rigs. The average commercial truck has a difficult time coming to a complete stop at freeway speeds. The massive weight of a big rig increases the braking distance, often three or four times the distance required for smaller vehicles traveling at the same rate. If you reverse tailgate a commercial truck, then you increase the chances of being rear-ended by the truck if you need to suddenly apply the brakes. Stay out of the truck’s forward blind spot and give ample space behind you if you are on the freeway ahead of it.
Pass on the Left Only
Sometimes you need to pass a commercial truck because it is blocking a lane or traveling unreasonably slow. When you decide to pass, use caution, and only pass on the left. As mentioned, commercial trucks have large blind spots on the right side. Passing on the right will keep you in that blind spot for a while, making you effectively invisible to the trucker, who might swipe into you in an emergency. The left side is inherently safer due to its smaller blind spot.
Wide Right Turns
Tractor-trailers are incredibly long vehicles with no flexibility. The trailer attaches to the tractor behind it at a hinge near the front, which acts as the only turning point. The result of this design is that trucks need a wide space to complete turns.
Wide turns are especially problematic with right turns made in the right-most lane. A big rig will usually drag the trailer into adjacent lanes as it turns. If your car is there, it could be damaged, and you will be put at risk of a serious injury.
When you see a commercial truck waiting to turn right, you should not enter any lanes to its right. The trucker will not see you and could crush your vehicle without realizing it as they complete the turn. Try to hang back and wait for the truck to pass through the intersection before proceeding.
Truck Accident Claim Representation for Drivers in San Jose
Have you been hit by a commercial truck despite your best efforts to share the road? If you live in San Jose or the accident happened in the surrounding region, Habbas & Associates can help by providing professional legal guidance and representation throughout your injury claim. We are backed by 200 years of collective experience and a history of impressive case results. Dial (888) 387-4053 now to learn more about your legal options after a crash and how we can help.