Tips for Driving Safely Around Semi-Trucks

All car accidents have the potential of being deadly, but those involving semi-trucks can be especially severe. The chances of a crash occurring increases with larger vehicles because of their blind spots, wider turn radius, and how long it takes them to come to a complete stop. Nearly 75% of semi-truck accidents are the fault of the other vehicle, so it is important to drive safely when one is on the road.

To help you do so, follow these five safety tips:

1. Keep Out of Blind Spots

A regular automobile has just two blind spots. However, semi-trucks have blind spots completely surrounding the vehicle. This makes it more difficult for drivers to see an approaching car. A semi’s blind spot includes 20 feet ahead and 30 feet behind it, as well as one lane’s width on both sides of the vehicle. 

Nearly one-third of fatal crashes between a semi and another vehicle occur in this blind spot zone. To best avoid an accident, keep yourself visible. If you cannot see the truck driver’s mirrors, the driver cannot see you either.

2. Leave Plenty of Room Between Vehicles

If a semi is driving 60 miles per hour while carrying a full load, it can take them up to three football fields, or 1,000 feet, to come to a complete stop. In addition, the driver is positioned higher up in the vehicle and can see something up ahead on the road before others do. This leads to sudden reactions and stops. If you are following behind a semi, make sure to account for that increased stop distance and reaction time. 

Driving too closely also increases your risk of being in a crash if the semi brakes suddenly, has a tire blowout, or there are high winds. Semis also kick up a lot of gravel that could potentially crack your windshield. As a rule of thumb, drive at least four seconds behind a semi-truck to allow enough room.

3. Be Patient

Be patient with semi-trucks driving near you on the road. Their increased size slows them down, as well as requires them to adhere to strict operating rules that are out of their control. This often includes a device that limits their speed. Aggressive honking or weaving through traffic to get around them will not make the driver speed up. Instead, it puts you at greater risk of causing an accident. 

4. Give Semi-Trucks Room to Turn

Most semis are five times larger than the average car. Their increased length means they often take up two lanes to turn, and other drivers need to account for that radius. 

To give a semi enough space, be aware of their turn signals and never pass them when their signal is lit. It is also important to stop on or before intersection lines when a semi-truck is next to you so the driver has plenty of room to make a full turn.

5. Drive Responsibly

This is true of everyday driving as well, but driving responsibly is especially important when a semi-truck is present. 

This includes:

  • Always wearing a seatbelt
  • Using turn signals
  • Staying focused on the road
  • Passing with care
  • Avoiding distractions, including texting, talking on the phone, and eating

In addition, avoid any sudden movements, including lane changes, stops, or turns.

Semi-Truck Accident Attorneys

At Grabb & Durando, we have experienced attorneys with a wide range of expertise, including semi-truck accidents. We’ve been specializing in injury and wrongful death cases since 1994 and can help you get the compensation you deserve. 

If you were in an accident involving a semi-truck, contact us today for a free consultation. 
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