Accidents involving commercial trucks often result in the most serious damages we see on the road. The sheer size of these vehicles requires them to be driven with caution and for other drivers to pay close attention.
In many instances, distracted or fatigued driving on the part of the truck driver causes these accidents. But, the tips below can help drivers of passenger vehicles be a little safer when driving near a large truck.
Stay out of their blind spots
Commercial vehicles have much larger blind spots than passenger vehicles. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the following areas are among the “No Zones”:
- 20 feet of space in front of the truck
- 30 feet of space behind the truck
- The entire traffic lane to the left of the truck, from the middle of the cab to the middle of the trailer
The best way to avoid these blind spots is to make sure you can see the driver in the truck’s mirror before you pass or move in front of them. It is especially dangerous to move quickly in front of a large vehicle, according to the FMCSA. In those situations, you are likely in their blind spot, and even if the driver can see you they cannot slow down fast enough to avoid hitting you.
Be prepared for wide turns
Commercial vehicles need more room to turn. In fact, the turn radius for most trucks is about 55 feet. It is normal for a truck to swing wide when making a turn, or even to turn from the middle lane. One of the most common causes of accidents with large trucks is passenger vehicles attempting to squeeze next to a truck making a wide right turn. Be patient and pay attention to the truck’s turn signal to avoid a crash.
Pay close attention at railroad crossings
Most large trucks, as well as buses, stop at railroad crossings even if the barricade is up. Pay close attention to what type of vehicle is in front of you when you’re approaching railroad crossings to avoid rear-ending a stopped big rig.
Watch for dangerous driving
In many cases, accidents with commercial trucks are not the fault of the passenger vehicle at all. Poor vehicle maintenance and reckless driving by truck drivers are all too common. By paying close attention and driving defensively around these vehicles, you may be able to avoid being hit by a commercial truck.
Unfortunately, sometimes even careful drivers can end up in an accident with a semi through no fault of their own. In those cases, it is important to work with someone well-versed in FMCSA regulations.