Thanks to our colleague Jason Mueller for this guest blog entry:
Seeing an accident, or being in one, with a semi-truck can be a scary situation, and often fatal. Did you know that in more than 80% of all accidents involving small vehicles and semi-trucks, the accidents are usually caused by the smaller vehicle? While having to arrange to have a damaged car hauled away by an auto transporter is not something that most drivers want to do, paying for a hospital stay or causing a loss of life is also a grave possibility in a collision with a large truck. Here are some tips that can help you safely share the road with semi-trucks and avoid those dangerous accidents that can cause vehicle damage or worse, personal injury or death.
If you must pass a large truck on the interstate, always pass on the left side and do so quickly and cautiously. Keep in mind that truck drivers have blind spots and you should never ride beside them because if they need to move over, chances are they might not see your car.
When sharing the road with a semi-truck, try not to spend much time close to the truck when traveling. Even if you know the driver can see you, there are other things that can occur with large trucks that may not be within the truck drivers reach to handle. As you drive down the interstate, chances are you will see pieces of large truck tires sometimes. While a large truck may be able to continue driving just fine when a tire blows out, those pieces of tire can become deadly if they blow out and hit a windshield. If it is rainy or snowing and you are riding on slick roads, don’t get too close to the rear of the truck or even next to one because there is a chance the car will slide underneath the truck.
Try not to use your high beams at night when you are behind a large truck or when passing one. Bright lights can temporarily blind a driver, and this can cause an accident. Did you know it only takes a couple seconds to travel the length of a football field? In two seconds of blindness from someone’s headlights, a large truck can be involved in a dangerous accident.
If you must stop for any reason on the interstate, try to pull off to the side first. If this is not possible, be aware of the truck behind you and make sure you signal or start braking ahead of time, so they will have time to slow down and stop. Remember that large trucks need more time to stop than a small passenger car may need.
No matter what, when you are traveling down any roadway, stay off the phone. Texting and driving has caused fatal accidents and sending a text to someone is not worth the risk involved. Reaching for an object that you dropped, or for a paper that may be in the glovebox or the rear seat can cause an accident as you must take your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel. Stay alert and fully focused on the road ahead of you and the trucks, of any, that may be traveling along the same stretch of road with you.
Sharing the road with large trucks is something that drivers do every time they travel, so take a little time to learn about trucks and how they handle on the road as well as the limitations that truck drivers may have with visibility as well as turning and braking. Learning to drive safely with semi-trucks on the road is a good idea to help prevent dangerous accidents on the highway and it is something that all drivers need to do.