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Safely sharing the road with tractor-trailers

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Truck accidents

If you’ve visited or currently live in Texas, you know that you’re probably going to encounter large commercial trucks like tractor-trailers nearly every time you get behind the wheel. If you feel nervous or intimidated when driving near these massive trucks, you are not alone. The average tractor-trailer can weigh up to five times more than a typical car. This means truck accidents involving passenger vehicles are more likely to be serious or fatal.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to control the actions of truck drivers or predict the moves they’re going to make. All you can do is focus on what you can control. Knowing how to safely share the road with tractor-trailers is essential for the safety of you and your passengers. What follows could help you stay safe and avoid truck accidents the next time you take to the road.

Be aware of blind spots

Keep in mind that tractor-trailers have larger blind spots than most vehicles, which can make it difficult for truck drivers to see you. These blind spots are on all four sides of the truck, so try to keep a distance of at least 20 feet ahead and 30 feet behind when possible. A good rule of thumb to remember is if you cannot see your car in the truck’s mirrors, the truck driver probably can’t see you.

Pass quickly

Tractor-trailers usually travel slower than passenger vehicles, so you will likely need to pass them frequently. Always pass these trucks on the left and never on the right. Also, you can give them extra space by driving near the outside edge of the lane. Pass quickly and never linger beside the truck.

Give them space

A tractor-trailer that is traveling 65 mph may need the length of two football fields to stop. This means if you cut closely in front of a tractor-trailer, you could cause a serious crash. Also, avoid tailgating. If you are following a truck too close and it must stop suddenly, your vehicle could slide under the trailer.

Stay alert and drive defensively

You should always stay alert and be a defensive driver, not only when you’re driving near tractor-trailers but any time you are behind the wheel. Pay close attention to vehicle signals and traffic patterns, as well as road and weather conditions. By driving defensively, you can anticipate problems and have more time to safely maneuver away from danger.

Getting help after an accident

Although you never expect to get into an accident with a tractor-trailer, sometimes there’s nothing you can do to avoid a collision. Truck drivers in the United States must undergo extensive training and obtain special licenses, but this does not prevent them from making mistakes. If you suffer injuries or the tragic loss of an immediate family member in an accident caused by negligence, you have the right to speak with a legal professional about your options for recourse.