Commercial trucks are usually some of the largest vehicles on the road. They require more time to speed up and slow down, and more space to maneuver. They also have more blind spots than most other vehicles. Texas highways are widely utilized by heavy commercial truck traffic, hence truck accident incidents are inevitable. In order to reduce the frequency of these, all drivers can benefit from tips on learning to share the road.
According to research from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2015, 32,166 fatal crashes took place on our Nation’s roadways, with 11.2 percent (3,598) involving at least one large truck. In the same year, Texas ranked number one for truck and bus fatalities. In 2015, commercial trucks were cited most commonly for lighting, brakes, and tire violations in roadside inspections. This data alone should be sufficient to prompt us to use more caution when driving around potentially dangerous commercial vehicles.
We have all been in those situations in which you have a big rig driving in front of you fifteen miles under the speed limit or you are “sandwiched” in your passenger car between two eighteen wheelers. Here are five tips to help you in driving safely around big trucks:
1. Keep in mind the size of the truck. Passenger vehicles are smaller, faster, and easier to maneuver in than commercial trucks. Give big trucks plenty of space to maneuver to avoid an accident. Following too closely or cutting in front of a truck are ways to raise the potential for a crash.
2. Avoid cutting off trucks. While slowing down to allow a truck to move into your lane may seem unfair, it is safer. Speeding up to move in front of a truck could increase the risk of a rear-end collision. Give the truck space to change lanes and pass or change lanes only when it’s safe to do so.
3. Consider a truck’s several blind spots. Commercial trucks have many blind spots, some of which include front of the truck cab, just below and behind the driver-side window, on the right side of the cab and back to the end of the trailer, and right behind the trailer. That number is higher than it is for passenger cars and is the reason why pedestrians, motorcycle riders, and people on passenger vehicles should do everything to ensure the commercial truck driver is aware of their presence. Always assume a truck does not see you.
4. Tap your brakes. If you need to decelerate suddenly for safety, tap your brakes a few times, as you do so. The blinking lights will alert the drivers behind of the situation and may prevent a rear-end accident. Even commercial trucks can benefit from this practice from people in passenger cars.
5. Proceed with caution in hazardous conditions. Commercial trucks more than smaller vehicles can send debris, snow, mud, and water flying out to the sides and behind the vehicle as they travel. Leaving some extra space between you and commercial vehicles during inclement weather will help you avoid visibility impairment and debris damage.
Both passenger vehicle drivers and commercial truck drivers have a duty to use caution on the roads. If an accident does occur, using the tips above may reduce a driver’s liability. When truck drivers fail to maintain their vehicles and use caution around motorists on the highway, they, their employers, and others may share responsibility for the resulting injuries and damages.
Determining liability in a truck accident will affect the damages available to any injured victims. An experienced truck accident attorney understands how trucking companies and their insurers handle accident investigations. Contacting an attorney after any truck-related accident can improve your ability to secure compensation.
Call Pastrana & García Law Firm at 512-474-4487 for a free consultation and no commitment.