If you’ve been on the road, either as passenger or driver, chances are you’ve been on that road with an 18-wheeler truck. They tend to stand out, being the biggest things on the road, and they can definitely be intimidating. Accidents happen, and accidents involving a much larger vehicle can be especially devastating.
Knowing how to safely navigate around these moving monsters and understanding the risks associated with them can not only save your life, but can help you become a more confident and skilled driver on the roads. The Tulsa truck and car accident attorneys at Biby Law Firm have the information you need.
The biggest risks when sharing the roads with 18-wheelers
Unfortunately, with a vehicle that large, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Driving a trucks take an amazing amount of precision and care due to their shifted center of gravity, mass, and possible dangerous cargo on board. But accidents can happen even with the best of intentions on all parties, and even if a truck crashes alone it is very likely to take a nearby vehicle or pedestrian down with it.
So, what are the biggest risks to keep in mind?
- Under-ride accidents. These can be one of the deadliest types of collisions. This occurs when a smaller vehicle ends up quite literally under the belly of the truck. Some trucks are usually required to have special under-ride guards to prevent this, but it is never a guarantee.
- Spilled cargo. While some incidents may be almost humorous – NBC news once introduced a segment on a Busch beer spill as a “party foul” – there could be far more dangerous things in those giant containers like gas, oil, and other toxic chemicals. Even if it is a “harmless” substance, it still endangers every vehicle now caught in a horrible obstacle course.
- Wide-turn crashes. This is, perhaps, the most common of truck/car accidents. Due to the sheer mass of the truck, they must take incredibly wide right turns with not a lot of visibility. Any car stuck in that blind spot is in danger of being crushed or hit off the road.
Safety tips for passenger vehicle drivers
Trucks cannot be entirely avoided on the roads, so that means we must know how to safely move around them. The more conscientious and aware you are of the other vehicles around you, the safer you are behind the wheel of your own.
When it comes to driving around 18-wheelers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has some advice:
- Don’t cut them off. Yes, it can be frustrating driving behind one of these behemoths since they’re required to drive slower than others. That being said, they do this for a reason, and part of that reason is to ensure they have enough space to stop. Cutting them off puts you at risk of those dreaded under-ride accidents if the truck driver doesn’t have the time or space to stop.
- In a similar vein, don’t tailgate them. You will be in one of the vehicle’s many blind spots, which means the driver would have no way of knowing to be careful when stopping to avoid – that’s right – another under-ride.
- Anticipate the wide right turns. Don’t try to rush past or squeeze through; you won’t win. Stay far back so the truck driver can see you in the side mirrors.
- Pass safely. Use your signal, make sure you are not in a blind spot (if you cannot see the truck’s sideview mirror, you’re in a blind spot), and never pass on the right. Try to give them as much extra room as possible before getting back in front of them.
- Buckle up. This may seem obvious and should go without saying, but wearing your seatbelt is the best safety measure you can take every single time you’re on the road. If you don’t slide under a truck, you can still be thrown out of your vehicle if you’re hit by one.
Truck accidents can be especially devastating, no matter who is involved and who is at fault. The injuries can change and end lives in equal measure. Sometimes, you can do everything right in your passenger vehicle and still end up the victim of one of these awful collisions. If you or a loved one were involved in a truck accident of any sort, trust the Tulsa truck accident attorneys at Biby Law Firm to fight for your compensation, your justice, and your life. We are ready to hear from you at 918-574-8458 or through our contact form , and we are always ready to help.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after an injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts, and has limited his career to representing individuals and families who were injured by the negligence of other people or corporations. Learn more about Jacob Biby.