There are approximately 450,000 truck crashes per year in the US. About 80% of crashes involving more than one vehicle are caused by someone driving a four-wheeled vehicle. We believe that many of these accidents could be prevented with better driver education. To help reduce these accidents, we’ve put together our best tips explaining how you can prevent a trucking accident.
Give Them Space
Trucks don’t have rearview mirrors, which makes it extremely difficult for them to see what’s directly behind them. One of the best ways you can help truckers see you and anticipate your movements is to avoid going bumper to bumper with them. Whether you’re following a truck or coming to a stop behind them, try to leave about two car lengths of space.
Pass On the Left
Driver safety guidelines always advise passing on the left whenever possible. That’s doubly true when maneuvering around large trucks. While trucks normally have a large blind spot, it extends across two lanes on the right side. If a truck driver needs to get into the slow lane, they would be unable to see someone in the two nearest slow lanes.
Let Them Over
At one time or another, you’ve probably seen an “elephant race,” a situation where a large truck tries to pass another and ends up blocking both lanes. You might even feel a little road rage when this happens because it means you and everyone behind you has to slow down by 10-20 MPH.
Remember that trucks are huge vehicles. It takes a lot more energy for them to speed up and slow down. If a trucker needs to get over, it’s probably because it would be dangerous to slow down. While it might be frustrating to sit behind another elephant race, letting the trucker over can prevent a serious crash and speed up the flow of traffic in the long run as it will be easier for everyone behind you to pass the slow truck.
Avoid driving alongside a truck whenever possible. In most cases, you’ll be in the truck driver’s blind spot and you prevent them from merging if they need to suddenly brake or change lanes. Before going into the passing lane, make sure there’s enough room for you to pass the truck completely and get past its blind spot, especially when driving at higher speeds.
Look Before You Merge
Merging too early is one of the top mistakes people make when maneuvering around large trucks. It may be tempting to merge out of the passing lane as soon as you’re past the truck’s hood, but that could put you in danger. Remember that truck drivers cannot see the first 20ft (about 2 car lengths) in front of their vehicle.
Don’t merge immediately. Instead, wait until you can fully see the truck in your rear-view mirror before getting over. Whatever you do, never merge in front of a truck and then hit the brakes. Trucks take much longer to slow down and may be unable to anticipate your movements.
The Mirrors are Key
Some trucks have a sign on their rear trailer that reads, “if you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you.” While this can be a little misleading, it’s a good place to start when trying to understand a truck’s blindspots. To get a better understanding of a truck’s blindspots, please read our article about “the no-zone.”
If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries or even wrongful death in a trucking accident, we can help you get serious. If you’d like an experienced Gulfport auto accident attorney from Gulf South Law Firm to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (228) 231-3989.