According to a truck accident lawyer from our friends at Schehr Law, accidents happen year-round regardless of good weather or bad. Many accidents can be avoided if road travelers follow some simple safety tips — specifically when driving around semi-trucks which operate very differently from smaller vehicles. From following distance to stopping time, knowing these tips can save your life, and the lives of your loved ones.
Tip #1: Blind Spots
Semi-trucks are much longer than the average car on the road. While they do have side mirrors they can refer to when driving, the mirrors do not cover all the spots around the truck. A good rule of thumb when passing a semi is to look in those side mirrors. If you cannot see the driver, they cannot see you. However, driving in bad weather or in the dark can render that particular trick useless. Always be aware of the trucks as you pass. If they start to come over into your lane, honk because they may not know you are there. Do not linger in a truck’s blind spot. Also, many semis have graphics on the back of them which show the exact blind spots that particular truck has. It’s good to take a glimpse at those as you drive by to understand where you are in relation to those spots.
Tip #2: Stopping Distance
Because trucks are so much heavier in general — but even more so if they are full up while hauling a load of something from one destination to another — they are not able to stop nearly as fast. You may have heard the phrase “stopping on a dime” — cars can come to a complete stop very quickly in just a few seconds. Trucks are unable to do this. If a truck is behind you on the road, try to keep a good distance between your vehicle and theirs. If you are worried about your safety, it is best to get out of the way.
Tip #3: Watch Out For Wind
Although ice and snow is dangerous for all vehicles, trucks tend to handle it better since they weigh more. However, semi-trucks truly struggle in high wind conditions because they sit off the ground so much more and are higher up compared to the average vehicle on the road. Wind can cause a truck driver to swerve or even lose control completely. If the day is extra windy, pass trucks quickly and give them a wide berth.
Tip #4: Bad Weather
Everything mentioned above should be approached doubly cautious if the weather is bad. Traveling in a downpour with limited visibility can mean the entire semi is a blind spot. If you are unable to see clearly in the weather, pull off to the side of the road. If the roads are icy, trucks will need even more time to stop. You do not want to be in front of them in icy conditions. If it is windy and there is limited visibility, a semi can truly be dangerous. It is best to not pass them at all or get yourself off the road to stay safe.
While these tips can help you be more vigilant around semis, they cannot completely prevent accidents. If you find yourself in a situation, contact a truck lawyer near you for help.