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How to Avoid Accidents with Trucks

By Jason Bottlinger on January 10, 2022

In a collision with a fully-loaded 18-wheeler weighing 80,000 lbs. or more, occupants of a 4,000 lb. passenger vehicles are likely to suffer serious injuries. A total of 5,005 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2019, including 64 in Nebraska, as reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ( FMCSA). With the rapid increase in online buying, there are more large commercial trucks than ever on the roadways today. It makes sense to learn what to do to avoid a serious truck accident. The following tips can help you keep yourself and your passengers safe.

Stay Out of the Truck’s No Zones

Commercial truck drivers have large blind spots all around their vehicles, known as no zones – on both sides, in the front, and in the back. When you are passing a truck, it is important to move out of the driver’s blind spots as quickly as possible. Pass on the driver’s side and avoid driving next to a large truck. Look at the side mirrors on the truck. If you can’t see the driver’s face in the mirror, the driver can’t see you.

Leave Plenty of Space Behind a Large Truck

Semi tractor-trailers are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, and they need more distance to slow down or stop. If you are following a truck too closely and the driver must brake suddenly, you are at risk of a crash. Always leave at least four seconds of distance between your vehicle and a commercial truck ahead.

Take Care When Passing and Switching Lanes

When you pass a large truck, make sure you have plenty of room before switching lanes. If you don’t leave enough distance between your vehicle and the truck, the driver may not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting you. Cutting in front of a large truck is a dangerous thing to do. Stay in your lane until you have enough room to switch lanes safely.

Be Alert to a Truck’s Turn Signals

Truck drivers have large blind spots and may not see you when changing lanes. When a driver signals a lane change into your lane, fall back to get out of harm’s way. Large trucks need more clearance to execute a turn. Always allow plenty of room for a truck that is turning at an intersection.

Pick a Good Spot to Pull Over

If you need to pull over on the highway, find a designated pull off spot or a wide shoulder. Pull over as far as possible away from traffic. A car stopped on the side of the road can be sideswiped if a large truck swerves slightly onto the shoulder.

Drive Predictably

It is always important to be predictable to other drivers, but particularly around large commercial trucks. Use your turn signals to alert drivers as to what you intend to do. Always signal well before turning or changing lanes.

Be Extra Cautious in Bad Weather

Weather conditions such as rain, snow, ice, and fog can make driving more hazardous for everyone, and even more so for commercial truck drivers. When visibility or road conditions are poor, they must drive slowly and need even more time to stop. Tractor-trailers are a challenge to handle to begin with and they become even more difficult in bad weather. Be extremely cautious in these circumstances and maintain as much distance as possible from your vehicle and large trucks on the road.

If you are involved in a collision with a large commercial truck, call Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234. Our Omaha truck accident attorneys have years of experience representing people injured in truck accidents.

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