How To Avoid Accidents With Semi Trucks

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Keep Yourself Safe When Driving Near Tractor Trailers

Semi-Trucks are big, heavy and slow to react compared to cars or motorcycles. Due to these factors, when an accident occurs with an 18 wheeler, it can become very dangerous very quickly. Drivers always need to pay extra attention and avoid any situation where the trucker could potentially get into an accident with them. Many trucking accidents lead to devastating injuries and even wrongful death because of the force and weight a truck has when traveling at high speeds. Here are a few tips to keep in mind so you can stay out of harm’s way when you’re on the road and avoid needing the help of a Colorado Springs trucking accident lawyer.
truck braking to avoid accident with car

Stay Out Of Trucker's Blind Spots

Truck drivers have much larger blind spots than regular vehicles and even have some blind spots that cars do not. Due to how tall trucks are, there is a large blind spot for about 20 feet in front of the truck because the driver cannot see past the hood of the truck. Always stay clear of this area as they may not see you at all if you are close to the front of their truck. Directly behind the truck is also a blind spot where they can’t see at all because their rearview mirror is blocked by the trailer they are hauling. And because the back of the truck is 40+ feet behind them, it is very hard for them to be aware of other drivers that are back there.
They also have large blind spots on the left and right of the truck just behind the cab. The mirrors on trucks are angled so they can see other vehicles in the lane next to them, but to be able to do this, the mirrors won’t show the immediate area to the side of the truck, near the front. Always be cautious when in these blind spots because if they don’t see you, it is very likely you could get hit and get severely injured.

Don't Stop Abruptly In Front Of Trucks

Semi-Trucks are extremely heavy and are also typically carrying large loads of products in the trailer which makes it very hard for them to stop quickly. These trucks have air brakes which helps aid their stopping capabilities, but that doesn’t mean they can stop abruptly like a car can. Most loaded down trucks will take a minimum of twice as long as a car to stop and that is with ideal road conditions. Add some snow or rain in there and they will need much further. Whenever you are in front of a truck, make sure you don’t slam on your brakes but if you do have to, try to get out of their way so they don’t crush your vehicle when trying to stop and always try to give them extra space to stop.

Give Them Extra Time When Passing Downhill

You may have noticed before that when going down a hill, your vehicle will gain speed. This is the same for trucks, but because they are so much heavier they can pick up a lot more speed naturally than your car will. The truck drivers also like to use hills to gain a little time on their routes and help carry their speed into the next uphill section. So if you are trying to pass an 18 wheeler when going down a hill, make sure you have extra room because they will also be gaining speed and it could take you longer than normal to pass them safely.

Stay Back When Trucks Are Turning

Tractor trailers are very long vehicles and need a very wide radius to safely make turns. You’ll notice how truckers always swing very wide when turning, which helps give their trailer more room to make the turn without hitting anything near the apex of the turn. If you are following a truck into a turn, don’t ever cut them off in the middle of a turn. They likely won’t see you and could end up with the trailer turning into your car. Always let them complete their turns safely before trying to pass a truck and maintain a safe distance, whether they are turning right or left. Make sure to pay attention to their blinkers as well. There are typically multiple sets of blinkers on tractor trailers near the front sides, just behind the truck’s wheels, on the middle sides of the trailer and of course on the very back of the trailer. In some situations the driver may forget to use their turn signal which can turn bad very quickly so always proceed with caution near turning trucks.

Be Aware Of Trucks Backing Into Driveways & Loading Docks

Many of us are impatient when driving and waiting on a truck to back into a driveway or loading dock can be very frustrating. However, rushing them or getting too close can result in the trucker needing even more time to maneuver around you so they can park their truck safely. There is also a risk of running into oncoming traffic if you try to go around them. You may not be able to see what’s on the other side of the truck even if you think it’s clear, so just be patient and wait for the truck to finish doing its thing. Most of these loading docks and tight parking areas are very difficult for truckers to back into, especially with their limited visibility around them so they can sometimes make unexpected moves to get their truck to fit properly into their parking space. This can cause drivers to get confused and potentially end up in a spot where the trucker can’t see them.

Consider Road Conditions When Driving Near Trucks

We’ve all been driving in heavy rain or snow and had a few scares before, so just imagine what that’s like for someone driving a semi-truck. If you are having a hard time seeing the road or getting traction or sliding then so is the semi-truck next to you. Except their vehicle is much harder to maintain control of in adverse weather conditions so always make sure to give room to truckers when road or driving conditions are not favorable.

Watch Out For Trucks In Merge Lanes

Tractor trailers are heavy and slow, which means they need a lot more room to get up to speed when merging onto highways and higher speed limit roads. Not all merge lanes are built long enough to give truckers a large space to get up to the speed of traffic so be cautious when they are merging and expect them to be slow.

Let Them Merge Without Issue

There are many tight highways and roads where there is a guardrail or curb at the end of merge lanes that can make merging safely very hard for commercial drivers. If you are approaching them, make sure to give them plenty of room to merge because you never know what is in front of them that they need to avoid. Sometimes you may also be in their blind spot and they don’t see you and could end up causing a crash. Always let truckers merge when you safely can and you’ll avoid getting into an accident in these types of dangerous situations. Check out this article so you know what to do after getting into an accident with a semi-truck so you are prepared in the event that it happens to you.

Stay Back When Following Behind

Following closely behind large commercial trucks is dangerous because you can’t see what’s in front of them. There could be a wreck, debris in the road, a tire blowout, a sharp turn or lane shifts coming up that you won’t be able to see until very late if you follow a truck too closely. You should also be aware of the dangers of driving near semi-trucks in strong winds as well, because these winds can tip over an empty trailer and cause a major accident. Following any vehicle too closely can be dangerous and even more so when the vehicle is very large and blocking almost all of your forward view. Always give them some room so you have time to react if something happens in front of the trucker that you can’t see.

Watch Out For Trucks When Stopped On The Highway

Stopping on the side of the highway is never a safe thing to do, but if you get a flat tire or have car troubles, you don’t really have a choice but to stop. So in the event that you do need to pull over on a busy highway, make sure you pull over as far as you can to leave room for semi-truck drivers and other passenger vehicles to be able to safely pass by without hitting your car. Always give as much room for error as possible, because sometimes people just aren’t paying attention while driving which could lead to a major crash if they are traveling at high speeds and hit your vehicle. Another thing to consider is to stay far away from your vehicle when pulled over, just in case someone does hit your vehicle by accident. This goes for when trucks are pulled over as well. They are large vehicles that will need more room than others to be able to safely pull to the side, so make sure to watch out for their safety cones and reflectors they set out and give them plenty of room when passing by.

Be Predictable When Driving

Have you ever watched a car race in real life and noticed how the slower cars rarely collide with the faster cars? That’s because they know that they need to drive predictably so that the other cars can navigate around them easily. The same goes for regular driving, especially when in close proximity to semi-trucks. If you are driving fast and swerving in and out of traffic it is very hard for them to see you or notice you coming up on them quickly. Don’t drive recklessly and always be predictable when driving next to semis so they have a good idea of what is safe or not at all times.

Avoid Distracted Driving

This one is a bit obvious, but we all have a tendency to get distracted at times while driving. Whether it’s a phone call coming in or just looking for something in your car, taking your attention off the road for even a second can cause major problems. 99% of the time it doesn’t cause an issue, but every now and then there will be situations that need your full attention and if you are distracted then this could cause you to get into an accident. If that accident is with an 18 wheeler then it is likely that the accident will be much worse for you as the driver of the much smaller vehicle. Avoid distracted driving at all costs as it is a major cause of severe personal injuries and fatal truck accidents across the US every day.

Contact Us If You Get In An Accident

At Rector Stuzynski LLC we have helped countless semi-truck accident victims get their life back on track and recover from their injuries without the financial stress of wondering when their settlement will come in so they can get back to normal life as quickly as possible. Our team gathers evidence, determines liability and fights to get you the maximum compensation possible for your injuries in a timely manner. We have an excellent track record of getting amazing results for our clients and we look forward to helping you get back on track as well, so give us a call today for a free truck accident consultation. We are available 24/7 by phone or you can stop by our office in Downtown Colorado Springs to speak with our truck accident attorneys in person.