The first step in avoiding dangerous truck accidents is understanding how they happen. One of the most common reasons why big rig accidents occur relates to the other vehicles on the road, and how the drivers behave around semi trucks. Staying safe while sharing the road with these large vehicles means drivers of smaller vehicles must proceed with caution. By using the important suggestions referenced below, passenger vehicle drivers can easily avoid truck accidents, making the roads safer for everyone.
Big Trucks - Different Than Passenger Vehicles
A key to understanding why big rig accidents happen is in realizing how these vehicles differ from the average passenger vehicle. The size difference may be obvious, but there are many other differences that can attribute to truck accidents. Big trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when loaded, which is nearly 10 times that of most passenger vehicles. Not only is stopping this much weight when traveling at highway speed very difficult, but maneuverability is much different than that of passenger vehicles. These type of trucks also have lower visibility than passenger vehicles. They are also susceptible to greater interference due to wind, wet and icy roads, road curves, and many other external forces. Heavy trucks can be dangerous even in the best of conditions, and without other vehicles traveling near them.
Staying Safe While Sharing the Road
While there are many factors that can add to the cause of big rig accidents, awareness, along with careful driving when around heavy trucks, helps reduce the chance of that an accident will happen. By adhering to the following basic safety tips, drivers of passenger vehicles can help promote safer highways:
- Give Trucks A Lot of Room - Because of their size, trucks occupy more space on the road; they turn wider; require more braking time, as well as more time to get up to speed; and, they can act unpredictably. Given all of these possibilities the best thing any driver of another vehicle can do is to always give trucks extra space. Avoid crowding heavy trucks to escape from being involved in big rig accidents should the truck experience some type of problem. Follow behind big trucks with four seconds or more of driving space between vehicles, and drive as far away from them as possible for the safest journey.
- Know A Truck’s Blind Spots and Avoid Them - Every semi truck driver has four blind spots that should be avoided to prevent the truck accidents that can happen when these drivers are not aware of other vehicles that are next to them. These four areas are: 1) directly in front of the truck; 2) to the left of the driver’s door; 3) diagonally back from the right side of the vehicle; and, 4) within 20 or so feet behind the vehicle. When traveling in these spots, smaller vehicles are frequently invisible to truck drivers who may try to stop, accelerate, or switch lanes unexpectedly.
- Pass Trucks Correctly - Trucks should always be passed on the left, and only when there is room to completely pass in one effort. Pass as quickly as possible while driving toward the left side of the lane to increase the space between the truck and the passing vehicle. Also, pass well in front of the truck before re-entering the same lane again. Never cut quickly in front of the truck, and into the front blind spot. Proceed cautiously while giving the driver every possible chance to see a smaller vehicle that is passing them.
As simple as these recommendations are, they can make the difference between the safe sharing of the highway, or the cause of a deadly big rig accident. With attention to these little details, and an understanding of how to avoid the actions that can interfere with heavy trucks, drivers can prevent sometimes deadly truck accidents. Through awareness and careful consideration, trucks and cars can cohabitate on the highways in safety!
Pearland, Pasadena, Webster, League City, Webster, Manvel, Alvin, Friendswood, La Marque, Texas City, and Galveston
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190