Driving is an action that requires equally skill and responsibility, especially when it comes to going on the road where hundreds of trucks may drive and pass next to you. Many drivers feel threatened and intimidated as soon as they see a commercial truck just because of its size.
When it comes to these vehicles, because of this same reason, it is likely that difficulties may occur regarding maneuvering, braking or visibility when an unexpected event occurs, like an accident; making regular vehicles quite vulnerable to take more damage.
Truck drivers must be very careful to have limited maneuvering when driving, as an accident causes considerable dangerous consequences ranging from severe damage to vehicles, serious injuries to drivers and passengers, and even death in the worst cases. That’s why we, as decent and responsible drivers have to comply and do our part as well when we are close to a truck.
According to the truck accident lawyer Bart Bernard, to safely share the road with these huge double-duty vehicles it is important to follow a series of safety rules for the sake of you and your passengers. Hopefully these will help reduce any potential anxiety created by commercial trucks, making your trips more relaxing and enjoyable.
First of all, whenever you plan to take a long trip that involves a lot of time in highways with many commercial trucks traveling as well, it is important and necessary to make sure your vehicle is in perfect condition. This includes breaks, tires, oil levels, etc. Once you are sure your car in good condition, you can put into practice the following tips to avoid the stress in the presence of trucks.
• Keep your distance: Statistics point to an alarming increase in injuries and damage caused by these heavy vehicles. In this sense, it is never recommended to drive right in front of or behind a truck, especially if you do not keep enough distance. Which is an infallible and basic rule, and because of their size you need to be extra careful. It’s not about leaving an exaggerated distance between you two, but enough distance to break on time in case of an emergency giving some space and time for your car to completely stop without hitting any vehicle nearby. Commercial trucks have characteristics that prevent them from suddenly slowing down, completely stopping or starting the engine easily. So it is a good idea to get out of the way of these vehicles when necessary. The recommended distance to have between your car and a truck is 20 feet if you are in front of it or 30 fet if you are behind it.
• Blind spots: A large truck has more blind spots that block a larger number of areas compared to a smaller vehicle, making it difficult for a truck driver to see the approach of a car.
• Don’t cut off a commercial truck: This is something you should never do under any circumstances. Some drivers get annoyed with trucks driving too slowly, eventually getting desperate and decide to cut them off in a reckless way. This decision can be of high risk causing a huge accident, because like we mentioned before, trucks weigh a lot and the driver will have a hard time stopping on time if you are too close to it. So there is a chance that the truck will hit you. Avoid this at all costs even if you are in a rush. It’s better to be late than to be an in an accident that can be deadly.
• How to pass a commercial truck the right and safe way? It is acceptable to pass a commercial truck but only if you do it taking the right precautions. One of them is to make sure there is at least a distance the size of a regular car for every 10 miles per hour of your current speed. Don’t forget to do it on the left lane only.
• Use your blinkers on time: Trucks sharing the road with other vehicles require more time and distance to maneuver through traffic, so the correct use of blinkers is essential so they can use the proper measures, adjust their speed, movement, etc.
• Pay attention to odd behavior: Commercial trucks traveling the roads for long days, sleep and fatigue can affect their performance. When one of these large vehicles exhibit unusual movements such as zigzagging, acceleration, etc., it is advisable not to get too close to them and to maintain a safe distance. If you think it completely necessary, sometimes honking can be useful to alert or wake up the truck driver.
• Use your lights properly: Keep in mind that headlights may blind a truck driver, if they reflect in their mirror the wrong way. Creating a very bright light may affect their visibility temporarily and their ability to operate the large vehicle safely. Instead, try to lower the intensity of the light when you see one approaching.
• Road conditions: Winter season adds an extra challenge in some areas of the country where there is snow and ice sheets on the road. Therefore, it’s another factor you need to consider besides watching out for commercial trucks. Remember to slow down and maintain a speed lower than the permitted speed if the road is not stable enough. Hold your steering wheel with both hands to have more control over slippery areas. And if possible, stay even further away from big trucks, since they are dealing as well with maneuvering difficulties and it’s more likely that something goes wrong when the road is in this condition.
• Wear your seatbelt: Each state in the country has very strong laws regarding the use of seatbelts. There are still some people who don’t always use it. It is always strongly recommended to not fall into this category and wear your seatbelt when you are driving. In the event of a car accident with a truck it can reduce the severity of your injuries or even save your life.
• Don’t get distracted: Last but not least, don’t get distracted. Driving for long hours on tricky highways with a lot of commercial traffic requires a lot of your attention. Don’t use your phone or text. Try to focus and avoid eating or engaging in activities that require taking your hands off the steering wheel. Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol of drugs.
May these basic tips guide you to feel more comfortable during your travels and change your mentality about driving near commercial trucks in a positive way. Remember to always drive safely on the roads!