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How to Drive Safely While Commercial Trucks are On the Highway

Big rigs, semis, 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, and whatever else you want to call large commercial trucks can be imposing and dangerous on the highway. Just driving near to one is enough to fill the average motorist with reluctance. If the trucker makes one wrong move, they could cause a serious truck accident that devastates motorists in smaller vehicles.

Summertime is here again, and you might have some plans to go on a road trip or visit friends in another town. When you are on the highways, pay attention to any nearby commercial trucks to reduce your chances of getting into an accident.

Three must-know tips to drive safely around a big rig are:

  • Big blind spots: A large percentage of truck accidents can be traced back to the trucker hitting a driver in a smaller vehicle that was tucked away in one of the truck’s many large blind spots. Your car has a few blind spots that you know can increase the risk of a crash if you do not check them before turning, changing lanes, or merging. Commercial trucks have even more blind spots that can easily hide more than one vehicle at a time. Directly in front and directly behind a tractor-trailer are large blind spots that you should never stay in. The left side has a noticeable blind spot, but the largest blind spot for a big rig is on its right side. If you need to pass a semi, then always pass on the left to give the trucker the most likely chance of seeing you.
  • Wide turns: Tractors with attached trailers cannot take tight turns due to the design of their vehicle. To complete a turn, a truck driver will often swing into the adjacent lane opposite their turning direction first. For example, if they want to turn left, the trucker might first stray to the right before turning. Whenever you see a commercial truck waiting to complete a turn, do not drive alongside it to try to make the same turn. You will almost certainly be unseen by the trucker, putting you directly in harm’s way of a sideswipe or underride accident. You should also try to avoid staying in a truck’s left and right blind spots when near an intersection because the trucker could turn there without much warning.
  • Braking distances: The size and weight of the average commercial truck make bringing the vehicle to a complete stop an endeavor, especially when the truck is traveling at freeway speeds. It is a simple matter of physics. The heavier and faster an object, the longer it will take to lose momentum as it slows. With this in mind, you should try to avoid staying in front of a semi-truck when possible. If traffic abruptly comes to a halt or the trucker is not paying attention to the traffic signals ahead, then you could be at severe risk of a devastating rear-end accident.

Keeping these few hints in mind while driving this summer can help you avoid a truck accident when there are usually more trucks and other cars on the road than other seasons. If someone else is driving for your trip, then be sure to ask them if they know these basic safety measures as well.

Get Legal Help After a Truck Accident

In case you are blindsided by a reckless, negligent, or exhausted truck driver this summer, one of the first things you should do is seek legal counsel. Trucking companies are notorious for fighting injured claimants every single step along the way simply because they can. Allowing a legal professional to manage your claim from start to finish can take the stress off your own shoulders by leaving the key details of your case to someone who is experienced with insurance company tactics.

If you live in Charles County, Maryland and get hurt by a trucker, then know that the Law Office of Robert Castro can help you. Call us at (301) 870-1200, tell us what happened, and we can tell you if we think you should be pursuing damages through an injury claim.