Semi-trucks are a common fixture on interstates and roadways. They can be tricky to maneuver around and if you get into a crash with one, it is most likely to result in serious injury. A common rule of thumb is to give truckers plenty of room.
Common Hazards with Semi-trucks
Tire Blowouts. Most people who drive on the interstate are likely to have seen chunks of rubber scattered along the side of the road. These are the result of a tire blowout from a semi-truck. A loaded truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds or more, and that amount of weight adds extreme stress to the tires. Truck drivers usually swerve when blowouts occur, and chunks of the tire will fly in all directions.
Heavy Winds. Although semi-trucks are massive, they are still affected by strong winds. Their large size actually makes them more difficult to control, especially if they are not loaded. An unloaded truck can mimic a sailboat in heavy winds with random drifting and swerving in and out of lanes.
Blind spots. Every vehicle has blind spots, but semi-trucks are plagued by them. The passenger side has more blind spots than the driver side, so when passing be sure to do so on their left side, and pass quickly. The driver can only see another vehicle in their side view mirrors at certain times; the closer you get to the front of the truck, the less likely that they will see you.
Statistics show that in more than 72% of semi-truck accidents, the fault lies with the other vehicle. Below are some tips to help navigate and share the roadways with our larger counterparts.
Give room for wide turns. Trucks need extra turning when space. They may even need to get into the oncoming traffic lane to successfully maneuver a turn. You should never try to sneak by them. When preparing to stop at a traffic light or stop sign, stop where the white guidelines are. They are marked at a certain spot so that other vehicles such as large semis have enough turning space.
Keep a safe following distance. Following too closely behind a semi puts you in a blind spot behind the truck. If a truck should quickly hit the brakes and you do not respond fast enough, you could get jammed underneath the truck. You also should never stop closely behind a truck on any type of hill because once the truck driver lets off the brake, it will likely roll back.
Pass safely and quickly. Make sure you can see the driver and then signal that you are changing lanes. Remember to pass on the left side of the truck because it has less blind spots. Accelerate and quickly pass the truck. Try to avoid passing trucks on a downgrade as they will pick up speed and you could get stuck driving in a blind spot.
Do not merge in front of them too closely. Merging quickly in front of a truck is dangerous. You need to be sure that there is plenty of space ahead of them before doing so. You may get rear-ended if you cut too close because a fully loaded semi takes the length of approximately three football fields to completely stop when traveling at high speeds.
Have You Been in a Semi-truck Accident?
No matter how defensively you drive, accidents can still happen. If you have been injured in a semi accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. The insurance coverage on semi-trucks can get very complicated because they often have more than one carrier, and this can make the claims process tricky.
Ethan Vessels is an established personal injury attorney in Marietta, Ohio serving Ohio and West Virginia. He can help you through the claims process and negotiate reasonable compensation for your injuries. Please call 740-374-5346 or fill out our online contact form to discuss your claim.