How to Safely Share the Road With Semi-Trucks
Regardless of how comfortable you feel behind the wheel, you might not always feel confident in your ability to safely share the road with large vehicles like semi trucks. That nervousness isn't actually misplaced. From 2016 to 2017, large truck fatalities increased by 9%. And since any truck accident lawyer knows that collisions involving these vehicles tend to be more deadly than the average car crash, it's no wonder that you might be nervous when you're on the highway.
In some cases, you may not be able to anticipate an accident. But you might be able to avoid having to find a semi truck accident attorney Omaha drivers trust if you know how to safely share the road with these larger vehicles. Here are just a few quick tips to follow.
Pass or Merge With Caution
You might assume that truck drivers have greater visibility than other motorists do. But did you know that large trucks have more blind spots than the average car does? That means a truck driver has more opportunities to completely miss sight of your vehicle if you happen to be located in any of these zones. Therefore, you need to be extremely cautious when driving near trucks -- and especially so if you're passing a truck or merging in front of one.
If you need to pass a truck, you should always do so on the left and without delay so you don't spend more time than necessary in any blind spot. If you want to merge in front of a truck, you need to give yourself much more room than you think you'll need. Because trucks are so large, they require more time and energy to come to a stop. Keep in mind that trucks actually have a blind spot in the front of their vehicle, so merging too closely to the truck could actually mean the driver won't see you at all. As a general rule, give yourself plenty of space between your vehicle and a truck -- and don't spend more time than necessary around or in front of one.
Don't Drive Distracted
It should be a no-brainer that you don't get behind the wheel when you're under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But you should also refrain from any distracted driving behavior once you're out on the road. This could include anything from texting or taking photos to using a navigation app and eating behind the wheel. Any reputable law firm will tell you that these behaviors can put you at higher risk of being involved in an accident. That's true of any kind of collision. But when trucks are on the road -- especially if you're on the highway or driving during rush hour -- the risks increase even more. Because truck drivers aren't able to stop or swerve in the same way that other motorists do, driving distracted can have even deadlier consequences if a truck is close by. And if you're distracted, you won't be able to assess whether there are dangers around you.
Use Lights Correctly
Lights can be your lifeline when you're in a vehicle, especially when visibility is poor. During the nighttime or in periods of inclement weather, you should make use of your vehicle's headlights and directionals. Any truck accident lawyer will tell you that you shouldn't use your high beams if you're driving behind a truck, if you're driving toward one, or if you are in the process of passing one; doing so can temporarily blind the driver and put everyone at risk. However, you should absolutely use your headlights to ensure trucks and other vehicles can see you clearly. And if you're changing lanes or taking an exit, you need to make it a point to use your directional signals (or blinkers).
As truck accident lawyers know all too well, collisions can happen in the blink of an eye. And when semi-trucks are involved, potential injuries and property damages can often be severe. If and when you're involved in a crash involving an 18-wheeler, you need the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer to ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the help you need. For more, contact our firm today.