7 Tips for Safely Sharing the Road with Semi-Trucks

semi truck

Accidents involving semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles are almost always catastrophic. A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and travel at speeds of over 70 mph. When a semi-truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the results often include severe personal injuries or wrongful death.

To protect yourself and improve your safety while on the road with semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your passengers.

#1 Avoid Blind Spots

Large commercial vehicles have big blind spots that make it more difficult for a semi-truck driver to see an approaching vehicle. When you are driving near a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle:

  • Stay at least 20 feet ahead or 30 feet behind the truck
  • Avoid the lane on the driver’s side of the semi-truck
  • Try to stay two lanes wide on the truck’s passenger side
  • Remember that if you cannot see the truck’s mirrors, the truck driver cannot see you

#2 Use Your Turn Signals

Semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles. This added weight makes them more difficult to control. To avoid a collision with a semi-truck, drive predictably and notify other drivers of your intentions by using your turn signals. This gives other drivers an opportunity to make adjustments so you can turn safely or avoid a collision while changing lanes.

#3 Give the Semi Truck Extra Space

When driving near a large commercial vehicle, be sure to give them extra space. Because of their size, large commercial vehicles often require more space for safe maneuvering than passenger vehicles do.

Driving too closely to a semi-truck increases the likelihood of a collision in the event the truck needs to brake quickly, is pushed around or even rolled over by high winds, or in the event of a tire blowout which could damage your vehicle and break your windshield.

When merging, avoid moving too closely in front of a truck. If traffic ahead of you slows abruptly or stops, the truck driver may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision.

#4 Watch for Wide Turns

Semi-trucks need more room to turn than passenger vehicles and often make wide turns. The cab of a semi-truck (the front section where the driver sits) often takes a different path through the turn than the trailer does. Trucks often need to swing out to the left before making a right-hand turn. Other times, they may start a turn from the middle lane of traffic.

If a truck has its turn signal on, do not attempt to pass the truck, and do not drive between the truck and the curb. When you are stopped at an intersection, make sure your vehicle is stopped behind the stop line. In some cases, you may even need to back up to give the semi-truck additional space to complete a turn.

#5 Pass Safely

If you wish to pass a semi-truck, attempt to pass in a safe and cautious manner. Approach from the left side, ensure that you can see the driver in the mirror, and use your turn signal to alert the semi-truck and other drivers of your intention to change lanes and pass the truck. Once you begin overtaking the semi-truck, pass quickly to minimize the amount of time you spend in the truck driver’s blind spots. Once you have passed the semi-truck, verify that you can see it in your rearview mirror before changing lanes to pull in front of it.

Be aware that semi-trucks may increase or decrease their speed as they go up or down a hill. Avoid passing a truck in these areas. If a semi-truck is passing you, stay to the right and reduce your speed. This allows the truck driver more space for passing and moves you out of the truck’s blind spot more quickly.

#6 Avoid Distractions

Leading experts believe that distracted driving is at least as dangerous as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Avoid distracted driving by not adjusting GPS devices, using cell phones, texting, eating, adjusting the radio, or performing other tasks that take your attention away from the road.

By focusing on driving, you will be better able to estimate the speed of an approaching semi-truck as they merge, change lanes, or turn.

#7 Wear Your Seatbelt

Seatbelts have been shown to provide additional protection in the event of a car accident. Wearing a seatbelt is one of the most effective steps you can take to reduce your risk of injury or death if you are involved in a car accident.

In Ohio, the driver and front-seat passengers are required to wear their seatbelts. Children should ride in the back seat and should also be buckled or in a car seat, if applicable.

Robenalt Law Fights for Victims of Semi-Truck Accidents

In spite of these safety precautions, you or someone you love may still be the victim of a trucking accident.

If you were hurt or someone you love was killed in a collision with a truck or other large commercial vehicle, the trucking accident injury attorneys at Robenalt Law are here to help. We will fight for the compensation that you and your family deserve.

Our lawyers have the resources, experience, and expertise to handle the most complex trucking accident cases. We will offer you advice and help you and your family secure the compensation that you need, and deserve, to help get your life back to normal.

Learn why people choose us, get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and how we can help.

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