Because they’re so much bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles, semi-truck accidents can be devastating, and they often result in serious injuries and fatalities. While truck drivers are trained professionals, accidents can happen due to various factors, including human error, adverse weather conditions, and mechanical failures.
As a responsible driver sharing the road with these massive vehicles, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to reduce your risk of being involved in a semi-truck accident. In this blog post, we will discuss five essential tips to help you stay safe on the road.
1. Maintain Safe Following Distances
One of the fundamental rules of safe driving is to maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you. When it comes to trucks, this rule becomes even more critical due to their size and weight. Semi-trucks need more time to slow and stop than smaller vehicles, which means that if you’re following a truck too closely, you may not have enough time to stop in an emergency.
To reduce your risk of a rear-end collision with a truck, follow the “three-second rule.” This rule dictates that you should stay at least three seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. To calculate this distance, pick a stationary object on the side of the road and start counting when the truck passes it. If you reach the same object before you count to three, you’re following too closely and should increase your following distance. Three seconds is the minimum. Some experts recommend keeping a following distance of five seconds around tractor-trailers.
2. Avoid Truck Blind Spots
Trucks have large blind spots, also known as “no-zones,” where the driver’s visibility is limited or completely blocked. These blind spots exist on both sides of the truck, as well as directly behind and in front of it. To reduce your risk of a collision with a truck, be mindful of these blind spots and take steps to stay out of them.
The four “no-zones” are:
- Front No-Zone: The front no-zone of a big truck is the area directly in front of the truck’s cab.
- Rear No-Zone: The rear no-zone is the area directly behind the truck, extending back around 200 feet.
- Right-Side No-Zone: The right-side no-zone is the area along the right side of the truck, from the passenger side of the cab to the end of the rear trailer.
- Left-Side No-Zone: The left-side no-zone is similar to the right-side no-zone but is shorter and extends from the driver’s side of the cab to the first few feet of the trailer.
3. Give Trucks Plenty of Space
Trucks require more space to maneuver safely, especially when turning or changing lanes. To reduce your risk of a collision, give trucks plenty of space and be patient when sharing the road with them.
When a truck is making a turn, the driver may need to swing wide to clear obstacles. Never try to pass a turning truck on the inside, as this can lead to a serious crash. Instead, slow down and give the truck driver room to complete their turn safely.
Similarly, when a truck driver is changing lanes or merging, allow them space to do so without rushing to pass them. Remember that trucks have larger blind spots, so be cautious when driving alongside or behind them.
4. Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions
Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents on the road, and it’s particularly dangerous when sharing the road with large trucks. To reduce your risk of being involved in a commercial truck accident, stay alert and avoid distractions while driving.
Put away your phone, GPS, or any other distractions that might take your attention away from the road and the task at hand. Keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road ahead. Being aware of your surroundings and the actions of other drivers, especially those driving big trucks, is crucial for your safety.
5. Take Adverse Weather Conditions Seriously
Adverse weather conditions can significantly increase the risk of accidents involving trucks and other vehicles. Rain, snow, ice, and fog can make roads slippery and reduce visibility. When driving in adverse weather, it’s essential to adjust your driving behavior accordingly by reducing your speed and increasing your stopping distance.
Trucks, with their longer stopping distances, require even more space and time to slow down or stop on slippery roads. Remember that bridges and overpasses can freeze before other parts of the road, so exercise caution when crossing them in icy conditions.
Contact Our Oklahoma Truck Accident Lawyers After a Crash
Reducing your risk of being involved in a truck accident requires vigilance, patience, and responsible driving practices. By maintaining safe following distances, avoiding truck blind spots, giving trucks plenty of space, staying alert and focused, and respecting adverse weather conditions, you can significantly enhance your safety while sharing the road with these massive vehicles.
However, you can’t always count on big truck drivers—or even other motorists—to drive safely. When they don’t, serious crashes can occur. If you or someone you love was injured in a big truck crash, the Oklahoma truck accident attorneys at Parrish DeVaughn are here to help. Contact us anytime for a free case review.