Most drivers know that merging on the highway is a challenge, and must be done carefully to avoid an accident. So imagine how difficult merging must be for a vehicle as large as a tractor-trailer! Merging is a common cause of 18-wheeler crashes. However, with a better understanding of how these type of accidents happen, these incidences can be reduced. To avoid 18-wheeler wrecks that occur during lane merging, driver safety organizations and truck accident lawyers alike, maintain all drivers must be alert to merging vehicles, and know what to do to promote safe merging.
How Merging Accidents Happen
Because tractor-trailers are so much larger than all other vehicles on the road, drivers deal with a number of specific challenges, including visual problems that make maneuvering more difficult. The most common circumstances that result in lane merging accidents are when trucks try to switch from a left lane into a right lane, when they are passing highway on/off ramps, and when they merge onto highways from on/off ramps. In all of these cases, visibility is decreased for the truck driver, and driving into another vehicle beside them is a higher possibility. Vehicles that are in blind spots are at greater risk of being hit when a truck is attempting to get onto the highway, or merge to the right. All of these actions require the utmost attention from both truck and passenger vehicle drivers.
Understanding Blind Spots
The most important factor in preventing accidents that happen while merging, is a driver knowing their blind spots, and how to handle a merge - considering they cannot see who may be in those spots. The main blind spot when merging right, or when vehicles come onto a highway to the right, is the area just in front of the truck - on its right side. Along the right side of a truck is generally the most dangerous place for other vehicles to be traveling. Truck accident lawyers, who see many victims of these type of accidents, suggest drivers of other vehicles must do their part and anticipate trucks trying to merge. They must remain out of blind spots, especially on the right.
Safe Lane Merging
Truck drivers must leave ample distance and time before attempting to move their vehicle to the right. Signals should come on well in advance so traffic is alerted to a driver’s intent to merge to the right, leaving other vehicles enough time to either stay back, or finish driving past if traveling beside a truck. Only once it is determined there is nobody driving to the right, is a truck driver safe to then merge in that direction.
Because this process usually takes longer for a truck, especially on a busy highway where drivers may be impatient, and less likely to allow a truck to merge, drivers must plan ahead and begin their merging process well in advance of when they need to merge. This takes practice, careful attention to detail, and good judgment on the part of the truck driver. Similarly, it also requires those driving other vehicles to pay attention, and do what they can to stay out of the way of merging trucks.
Preventing 18-wheeler crashes caused by bad lane merging is something every driver must try to prevent. This can be accomplished with a thorough understanding of how these incidents happen, and how to react when a big truck is trying to merge. Truck accident lawyers who deal with the devastating results of these 18-wheeler wrecks agree, better merging skills and paying more attention can reduce these accidents, and help trucks and other vehicles share the highways safely.
Pearland, Pasadena, Webster, League City, Webser, 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