April 25, 2022
Trucking Accident

Semi-truck accidents can have devastating consequences for those involved. A fully-loaded semi weighs as much as 80,000 pounds, whereas a large passenger car may weigh only 6,000 pounds. This size difference means if you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, you will likely face catastrophic and life-altering injuries.

You can minimize your risk of injury in a semi-truck accident by implementing a few safe driving tips. Explore tips for driving safely around semi-trucks to reduce your chances of an accident and avoid injury or death.

1.     Drive Responsibly

One of the best ways to minimize your chances of a semi-truck accident is to practice responsible driving. To drive responsibly, always do the following:

  • Focus on the road at all times
  • Avoid texting and driving
  • Limit driving in rain, snow, or ice
  • Don’t speed
  • Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

2.     Give the Semi Extra Room

Always leave extra room between your vehicle and the tractor-trailer when driving near a semi. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recommends that for every 10 feet of vehicle length, you leave one second between you and the vehicle.

If the average semi-truck is approximately 72 feet long, this means you should leave no less than 7 seconds of following distance between your car and the truck. If you are going more than 40 miles per hour, you should leave one additional second. Provide yourself with enough time to react and move out of the way if the semi begins to experience an issue such as drifting, a tire blowout, or load tipping.

3.     Always Pass Safely

You must pass safely when moving past a semi-truck. Try approaching the truck from the left because it allows the driver to see you before passing them. Also, make sure to signal before passing and keep your speed consistent. Always glance in the rearview mirror to ensure the truck is a safe distance behind before merging back into their lane ahead of them.

4.     Maintain Your Speed

Avoiding quick changes in speed can help you minimize your truck accident risk. If you maintain a consistent speed when driving near a semi, the driver can better anticipate your car’s location in relation to their vehicle. This allows them to plan their turn or lane change with your position in mind.

5.     Stay Out of Blind Spots

Whenever possible, stay out of semi-truck blind spots. There are four no-zones for semi-trucks. These are:

  • Under the driver’s window and along the driver’s side
  • Along the passenger side of the truck, extending backward
  • About 20 feet in front of the truck
  • About 30 feet behind the tractor-trailer

If you drive in a truck’s blind spot, the driver cannot see you, and your risk of an accident increases. If you find yourself driving in a blind spot, speed up or slow down to get out of the no-zone as quickly as possible.

6.     Allow for Extra Time

In addition to giving semi-trucks extra space, you should also allow them extra time. Semi-trucks are enormous and heavy, which means they cannot maneuver quickly. Be patient if you are driving near a semi-truck that is making a turn, switching lanes, or backing out of a lot.

It may take several minutes for the semi-truck to complete its maneuver, but waiting is better than moving into its blind spot and risking injury.

7.     Increase Following Distance

If you are driving behind a semi-truck or big rig, always follow at a safe distance. Leave around 4 to 5 seconds of reaction time between you and the semi, even when driving at slow speeds. This prevents an accident if you must stop suddenly. It also minimizes potential damage caused by a truck rolling backward.

8.     Anticipate Wide Turns

Unlike smaller passenger vehicles, semi-trucks make extremely wide turns. For example, if a semi needs to turn right, they may have to do so from the left-hand lane. If you are not anticipating their wide turn, you may find yourself cut off by the semi or, worse, trapped underneath.

Undercarriage accidents are one of the most deadly semi-truck collisions, so always anticipate wide turns and keep your distance.

Contact The Vance Law Firm for Legal Counsel

If you are involved in a semi-truck accident, contact a Montgomery truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer with The Vance Law Firm can help you pursue compensation for your truck accident injuries and hold the appropriate parties responsible. Schedule your free case review today.

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