Civil Justice Warriors

Safe Driving Tips for Sharing the Road With Trucks

Commercial trucking is essential for supplying goods and services to consumers. However, the thriving trucking industry in Texas means congested roadways and increasing numbers of Dallas trucking accidents involving large commercial trucks. A fully loaded semi-tractor-trailer truck can weigh as much as 18,000 pounds. In a collision with a 4,000-pound car, the motorists in the smaller private vehicle are at a serious disadvantage and at risk for severe injuries.

While no one can prevent all accidents, by remaining alert and vigilant around large trucks and following some important safety tips, you can minimize the risk of suffering the trauma and grave injuries associated with truck accidents.

Avoid Driving in a Truck’s Blind Spots

Commercial trucks are large and unwieldy with blind spots that are significantly larger than those on smaller vehicles. Truck cabs do not have rearview mirrors because the attached trailer would block the view. Also, a truck driver’s side mirrors leave large areas of limited visibility on both sides of the truck. When sharing the road with a large truck, remember to avoid lingering in blind spots by taking the following preventative measures:

  • Make sure that the truck’s side mirrors are visible to you. If you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, the driver cannot see you
  • Leave around 20 car lengths between you and a truck you’re following
  • When driving in a lane on the left or right of a truck avoid lingering in the space directly below the cab of the truck
  • Because trucks have larger blind spots on the driver’s right than on the left, only pass a truck on the left side

Avoiding blind spots is one of the most important safety tips for sharing the roadways with large trucks.

Allow Extra Space When Driving Near a Truck

When sharing the road with a large truck, leave plenty of space between you and the truck, regardless of your position near the truck. Commercial trucks take significantly longer to slow and stop compared to private vehicles and they need more space to make turns. If you drive on the right of a truck in the driver’s blind spot, it’s possible for the driver to attempt a right turn without seeing you, leaving your vehicle trapped between the truck and the curb or running you off the side of the highway.

Leaving extra space between your car and a truck allows the truck driver to safely maneuver the truck for lane changes, turns, or sudden braking while leaving you with enough time to avoid a collision.

It’s also important to avoid tailgating or driving too closely behind a truck. Not only does this risk a rear-end collision if the truck brakes, but driving close behind a large truck blocks your vision of the road ahead, leaving you at a disadvantage in avoiding hazards.

Assume a Truck is Moving Faster Than It Appears

Because trucks are large and have extended lengths compared to private vehicles, they commonly cause an optical illusion that makes the truck appear to be moving at a lower rate of speed than it actually is. Some drivers pull out in front of an approaching truck instead of yielding the right of way in the mistaken belief that they have enough time. Instead of risking this tragic mistake, always assume the truck is moving faster than it appears.

By taking a few extra precautions and remaining vigilant to the presence of large trucks on the road, you can minimize the chances of experiencing a serious accident. If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, contact a Dallas truck accident lawyer today.