Most of us have been on the road where a big truck is slowing us down. Perhaps the big rig has its flashers on and going 20 MPH under the speed limit. Or, your tiny passenger car is stuck between two 80,000-lb tractor-trailers on the freeway. Don’t get impatient!
Driving around big rigs safely means driving intelligently and defensively. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends you follow at least four seconds behind a truck. If your speed is over 40 MPH, leave more space.
This article’s tips will help you safely share the road with truckers. After reading this guide, contact Austin and Pflugerville truck accident lawyers Pastrana & García if you have been in a truck accident.
Trucks Are Big And Take Longer to Slow Down
A fully-loaded tractor-trailer weighs up to 80,000 pounds. As a result, it takes a big rig much longer than a passenger car to slow down. At 65 MPH, it may take the truck more than a football field to reach a stop. That is why it is critical to give big rigs plenty of room on the open road.
Passenger car drivers often get in serious truck accidents because they follow too close or cut them off in traffic. Be aware that trucks have much longer stopping distances and give them more space than smaller vehicles.
Never Cut Truck Drivers Off
It is understandable to get impatient with a slow-moving truck. However, if you get around the truck quickly and cut the rig off, it is difficult for the driver to slow down without hitting you. Slowing down to let the big rig into your lane is safer. If you speed up, there is a high chance of a rear-end crash.
When a truck rear-ends a passenger vehicle, the result is often deadly. A common accident happens when the truck can’t slow down when a car cuts them off. This can lead to the truck driving over the small vehicle and severely injuring or killing the occupants.
So, allow trucks the space they need to switch lanes, and only pass them when you can do so safely. Doing so will keep you and your family safe around big trucks.
Drive Carefully in Hazardous Conditions
Tractor trailers weigh a lot and have 18 wheels, so they are more likely to send plenty of mud, snow, rain, and road debris flying into your vision. So when weather conditions worsen, leave more distance between you and the truck ahead.
Many truck accidents happen in bad weather, often when passenger vehicles don’t give truckers the room they need. Remember, it takes the truck even longer to slow down in poor weather.
If you need to get around a truck in bad weather, do so carefully and under the speed limit. When switching back to the right lane, wait until the truck cab is entirely visible in your rearview mirror before moving over. Getting too close to the big rig on a slick road can be disastrous!
Don’t Use Your High Beams Behind a Truck
High beams are helpful to see at night when no other drivers are nearby. Using high beams behind a big rig can be especially dangerous. Those bright lights can blind the truck driver in their mirrors. If the driver cannot see for even one or two seconds, they could drive the length of a football field and be effectively blind.
Tap Your Brakes
If you are driving near a big rig and need to stop suddenly, tap your brake pedal a few times to alert other drivers. Blinking lights tell other drivers there is a stop ahead. Tractor-trailer drivers also should tap their brakes before they need to stop.
Remember: Trucks Have Blind Spots
Tractor trailers have big side mirrors, but there are still blind spots on both sides of the trailer. So there is a good chance the trucker cannot see your car if you are on the side for too long.
Also, the trucker cannot see your car behind the trailer if you can’t see them in their side mirrors. So be sure you can see their side mirrors when driving behind the rig. Being too close behind the truck also means not being able to see anything in front of you. That’s also dangerous and should be avoided.
When you are next to a truck on the highway, pass safely as soon as you can. When you get by the truck and want to change lanes, signal and give the rig a lot of room.
Were You in a Truck Accident? A Truck Accident Lawyer Will Fight for Your Rights
If you were in a nasty truck accident and you weren’t at fault, you may be eligible for compensation. An Austin and Pflugerville semi-truck accident lawyer can help get you money for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For a free consultation, contact Pastrana & García Injury Law if you’ve been involved in a semi-truck accident in Pflugerville, Bastrop, Round Rock, Taylor, Hutto, or the surrounding areas.