Thousands of accidents occur each year involving semi-trucks and smaller passenger vehicles. This results in thousands of injuries and deaths, leaving crash victims and their families devastated both personally and financially.
In fact, in 2019, there were 2,734 fatal accidents involving trucks and buses in the United States. In these crashes, 3,087 lost their lives, according to report issued at the beginning of 2020.
When you encounter a large semi-truck on the highway, you should aim to drive defensively, not offensively. This means following the rules of the road and taking other drivers into account. While you may not be able to keep dangerous drivers off the road, there are some things you can do to avoid increasing your risk of a crash with a big-rig.
Avoid cutting off a truck driver
Avoid sneaking just in front of a semi-tractor trailer in traffic. Even more important, don’t jump in front of the truck and then slow down or brake to perform a turn. These rigs cannot slow down as quickly as smaller vehicles. A large truck of this nature may take three times the distance to stop as a standard passenger vehicle. You are risking being held liable for your own injuries if you drive recklessly around a truck, so it’s better to just wait for another opportunity to enter a roadway.
Avoid the trucker’s blind spots
Trucks have various blind spots, and they may not always be equipped with the right tech to help detect cars that enter them. The largest blind spots of for drivers of semi-trucks are to the right and rear of the rig. There are also smaller blind spots on the mid-left side and right front corner of the truck. If you intend to pass a truck, accelerate as needed to conduct the maneuver promptly. Avoid lingering beside the truck or moving past the truck very slowly. ALWAYS pass on the left.
If you are in a position where your vehicle is behind a truck backing up, be patient. Back-up accidents are among the most common types of truck collisions there are. The truck driver may need to perform several maneuvers or make several attempts to reverse the rig into close quarters. Allow the driver time to complete the maneuver, and don’t attempt to weave around the truck before the driver is finished reversing. If you cannot move backwards yourself, beep to let the truck driver and spotters know that you are there.
Be aware of lane changes
Merging a long tractor trailer, which may have a combined length of some 70 feet, is not easy to do, especially in busy traffic scenarios. If the truck has its turn signal blinking, give the truck sufficient room to change lanes or merge. Flash your lights briefly to indicate you are giving space for the trucker to perform the maneuver.
Avoid trying to correct a trucker’s driving behavior
Give way to semi-tractor trailers as much as possible on the highway. Do not attempt to force your will on these drivers or slow down in front of them while going down a steep decline. These truck drivers may need to operate their rigs in a way that is not the same as you would in a smaller passenger vehicle. Large trucks of this nature drive very slowly up steep grades, but may accelerate going downhill in order to make it up the next hill more easily. Stay out of their way as much as possible.
Accidents between passenger vehicles and tractor trailers happen all too often, and the results can be serious and even deadly for drivers of smaller vehicles. If you have sustained injuries in a crash with a large semi-truck due to the negligence of the truck driver or some other party, Biby Law Firm can fight for the compensation you deserve. To request a free consultation, call us in Tulsa today at 918.574.8458 or fill out our contact form and send us a message.
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.