Sharing the road with tractor-trailers can be daunting. Their large size makes them road hazards, and they require an incredible amount of attention and care to operate safely. While truckers can cause accidents, research from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that car drivers are at fault for nearly 80% of fatal accidents involving tractor trailers.
Auto accidents are not always preventable, but taking safe actions on the road can help reduce the likelihood of getting into an accident – especially with large trucks. Following these rules can help keep you and your fellow motorists safe:
Give Them Room. Tractor-trailers need plenty of space on the road. They are heavy and difficult to maneuver. Plus, their expansive surface area means they are more likely to get blown around in windy conditions – sometimes resulting in swerving or drifting into other lanes.
Respect Their Speed. 18-wheelers carry thousands of pounds and are around 30-times heavier than the average passenger vehicle. This means they must allow themselves more time to come to a stop than a car would. They need even more time to stop and accelerate on hills during inclement weather. So while they may not be traveling as fast as you are, there’s a reason.
Keep Out of Their Blind Spots. Tractor trailers have larger-than-average blind spots. Truck drivers cannot see your vehicle until you are about 20 feet in front of them or 200 feet behind them. A good indicator is if you can see the driver’s face in their side mirrors, they can see you.
Pass Them Carefully. The blind spot is even larger on the passenger side of trucks, so it is safer to pass to the left of the truck. Remember to stay close to the outer edge of the lane as you pass in order to avoid a potential swerving or drifting truck.
Never Pass While They Are Turning. Trucks make very wide turns that can take a bit longer than passenger vehicles to complete. Try to be patient and avoid passing them while they turn, as this is one of the most frequent causes of accidents involving trucks and passenger vehicles.
If you’ve been involved in a tractor-trailer accident and have sustained injuries, do not hesitate to seek help.