Whether you’re heading to work, on a family road trip or running errands, chances are you share the road with thousands of cars and hundreds of semi-trucks every week. Understanding the differences between handling a big truck and a passenger vehicle can help you minimize the chance of a collision.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 112,000 injury crashes involving big trucks happened in 2018. Big trucks need more room when stopping due to their size and weight. They also have a reduced field of vision and have a higher susceptibility to wind gusts. Here are a few tips to help you share the road with semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles safely.
Look for the mirrors
You may use the side-view mirrors when keeping an eye on traffic on either side of you when behind the wheel of your car or light-duty truck. However, you rely on the rearview mirror when monitoring traffic behind you. Drivers of commercial vehicles must rely on the side mirrors when monitoring all traffic behind and beside them. When following a big truck, look for the side mirrors. If you cannot see the mirror, the driver likely cannot see you.
Leave extra room
A loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. At highway speeds, it can take up to the length of half a football field to stop. When passing a truck, get by it as quickly and safely as possible. Don’t pull into the lane ahead of it until you see the driver in your rearview mirror. If you can see the driver, they can see you and change speed accordingly. This reduces the potential for a collision.
Professional drivers typically use approved routes and check the forecast before heading out for the day. However, if you sustained catastrophic injuries in a collision with a big truck due to a reckless driver, you may have grounds for a claim. Understanding your options is critical when dealing with insurance and trucking companies.