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Tips for Sharing the Road with Trucks

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Overhead shot of highway with semitrucks and other vehicles
While trucks play a vital role in our economy and transport goods we all rely on, they can also be dangerous to other motorists. Semi-trucks are significantly larger than passenger vehicles and can be at least ten times heavier. Because of these size and weight differences, collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles can often be catastrophic and result in devastating injuries and deaths. In 2021, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the National Safety Council (NSC) reports 5,788 people in the U.S. were killed in truck crashes, and 155,000 others were injured. These statistics underscore the importance of sharing the road with trucks responsibly to reduce the risks of accidents.

Tips for Sharing the Road with Trucks

When sharing the road with trucks, it’s important to respect their size and make sure to exercise caution. Many accidents happen because of preventable human error. While avoiding driving mistakes might not prevent every collision you might be involved in, doing so can certainly reduce your risk of being in a crash with a large truck.

1. Stay Out of Blind Spots

Semi-trucks have much larger blind spots than other vehicles. A truck driver can’t see a large portion of the lane to their left, two lanes to the right, a large distance behind, or a fair distance in front of the truck. Stay back when you are behind a truck, and make sure you can always see the driver’s side mirror. When you want to pass, only do so in the lefthand passing lane, and never pass a semi-truck on the right. Pass quickly, and use your turn signal to let the driver know when you are re-entering the lane. Make sure to give the driver plenty of room between your vehicle and the front of the truck in case you have to slow down so the driver will have time to brake.

2. Avoid Distracted Driving

You should never drive while distracted. When you are driving, store your phone out of sight, and turn it off if possible. Calls and texts can wait until you pull off the road. People who text and drive can travel hundreds of feet while their eyes are off the road, which can easily lead to collisions with large trucks and other vehicles.

3. Use Your Turn Signals

You should always use your turn signals when changing lanes, entering the highway from a merge lane, or preparing to turn. Trucks require a much greater stopping distance, so you need to signal to give the driver warning of what you intend to do so they have time to react. Never cut off a large truck.

4. Observe the Speed Limit

Follow the posted speed limit when possible. If the roads are slick from rain or snow, drive at the speed you are comfortable with for the conditions. Don’t drive well below the speed limit or well above it. If you drive too slowly, an inattentive truck driver might not realize you’re driving much slower until it is too late for them to avoid an accident. If you drive too fast, you could lose control of your vehicle and cause a collision.

5. Don’t Drive While Impaired

Never drive after you have been drinking alcohol or have used drugs, including prescription medications that interfere with your motor skills or cognitive functioning. Instead, stay at home, or call for a rideshare or taxi to reach your destination safely.

6. Keep Your Attention on the Road

Make sure your attention remains focused at all times when you are sharing the road with trucks. Watch for potential dangers around you, including tire treads that might be separating from a tire of a large truck, slowed or stopped traffic ahead, upcoming construction zones, road debris, and more. Paying attention can help you take defensive driving measures when needed to avoid collisions.

Call the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave

Even if you always follow the law and pay attention to your surroundings while driving, you might still be involved in a trucking collision. Unfortunately, you can’t control the actions of other motorists, including truck drivers. If you sustained serious injuries or lost a family member in a trucking collision, contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave today to schedule a free consultation. Please call 417-322-2222 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!

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