Car Driver Tips for Preventing an Accident with a Truck
While commercial trucks present dangerous situations on the road, they are unavoidable. If you’ve shared a highway with a truck before, most likely you’ve seen one coming at you at a very high, risky speed. Or, you experienced a terrifying situation where you had to swerve off the road to avoid hitting an 18-wheeler that suddenly changed lanes. These are terrifying moments, and you have every right to be scared.
Truck accidents are more dangerous and devastating than accidents involving regular vehicles because they are bigger and carry more weight. To ensure you remain safe on the road as a regular driver, we’re going to look at what you can do to avoid a truck accident. Even though you may have the skills of a defensive driver, there are specific tips you should always remember when sharing any road with a truck.
Preventing a Truck Accident – 10 Tips to Keep in Mind
1. Maintain a Bigger and Safer Distance
When following a commercial truck, always allow a bigger space than you would with other smaller vehicles. The simple reason for this is that these large vehicles hinder what you can see ahead. For instance, it becomes challenging to see the traffic ahead of you, construction work, and other dangerous road conditions. Maintaining a bigger distance between you and the truck ensures that if anything happens, there’s a chance to swerve or make a sudden stop.
2. Avoid a Truck’s Blind Spot
A blind spot is an area where the truck driver cannot see you. To know whether you’re in a blind spot, check the side mirrors of the truck. Not seeing the driver’s face in the mirror means he/she can’t see you. The safest side to pass a truck is that of the driver because the passenger side has a much bigger blind spot. What this means is that if a truck is on the right, you should use the left lane to pass. And if you notice you’re in a blind spot, don’t stay there longer than necessary.
3. Choose Where to Pull Over on the Road Carefully
If it’s absolutely necessary to pull over between exits, you should always be careful where you do it. Try to find a designated pull-off spot or a place where there is a wide shoulder. Many accidents happen when a passing truck swerves a little onto the shoulder and swipes a pulled-over car. Take caution.
4. If a Truck is Turning, Approach With Caution
When trucks are turning, they require more space than smaller vehicles. The truck driver also has less road visibility. Therefore, always allow more space if a truck in front of you is turning or approaching an intersection. To ensure your safety, assume the truck will need a larger part of the intersection to turn and maintain extra space.
5. Pass in Front of a Truck Only if There’s Enough Space
One mistake that many people make is trying to cut in front of commercial trucks. They don’t realize that trucks carry more weight than other vehicles; to stop, they will need a bigger distance. The technique to keep you safe here is to stay in your lane if there isn’t enough space to pass.
6. Overtake as Fast as You Can
Can you see enough space in front of the truck? Overtake quickly. Staying on the other lane beside the truck puts you at the risk of a collision with an oncoming vehicle. Events like rollovers and tire blowouts also happen often on the road; you don’t want to be caught up when they occur.
7. Being Predictable is Crucial
When sharing the road with commercial trucks, be predictable. If you want to do anything, use signals to show the other driver. That way, he/she will know how to adjust as necessary and allow what you want to do. Always use your signals when turning, changing lanes, and doing other impactful things on the road.
8. Don’t Drive While Distracted
Driving on the highway may be particularly long and boring. However, allowing yourself to become distracted is risky and can result in devastating consequences. If you’re going on a long journey, have your entertainment planned well in advance: audiobooks, great music, etc. A highway is not the place to use your phone or car radio. Do you feel like you’re tired and will doze off if you continue driving? Find the closest rest area and take a break.
9. Playing “Chicken” With a Truck is Very Risky
If a truck is trying to overtake you, don’t hinder its way; slow down carefully and let it pass. This is not the time to think that a truck cannot be faster than you. If you try to play “chicken,” the truck driver may swerve and crash into your vehicle as he/she avoids contact with another, resulting in deadly repercussions.
10. Be Wary of Changing Weather
Sometimes bad weather comes suddenly, creating dangerous driving conditions on the road. One thing you can do is have a weather app on your phone that notifies you of any weather changes. These notifications can ensure you prepare adequately. If the weather changes are sudden, find a safe place, pull over, and wait for the conditions to get better.
At Oberheiden Law, we sincerely hope you follow these tips and stay safe while sharing the road with large trucks. If you’re involved in a truck accident and believe it wasn’t your fault, we’re here to represent you. We’re experienced, work on a contingency basis, and charge less than other firms. Call us to learn more about how we can help.