Spend any time on the highway, and you’ll see them — 18-wheelers, semis, and other commercial vehicles. Those drivers have a responsibility to follow the laws and drive safe because truck accidents are often devastating. But they happen all the time. You can’t control what another driver does, but you can do your part to avoid a big accident with a truck.
Being aware of what’s going on around you is always the first step in preventing accidents — with other passenger vehicles or big 18-wheelers. If you see a big truck swerving on the road or hitting its brakes, slow down or move over to avoid driving near it. Likewise, if you see traffic slowing down ahead or a big truck hits the brakes ahead of you, slow down early to avoid potential collisions up ahead and to let drivers behind you know to slow down.
Drive Cautiously in Bad Weather
Trucks need more room to maneuver and slow down, and it’s even truer when the weather turns ugly. Turn your headlights on, slow down, and don’t change lanes suddenly. Every rule of the road you’ve ever been taught needs to be used once it starts to rain or snow. The speed limit signs posted are the speeds to maintain during ideal weather. Slowing down gives you time to react and having your headlights on makes you more visible to commercial trucks.
Leave Plenty of Room
You don’t want to have a semi-truck too close behind you, but you also don’t want to tailgate, either. Commercial vehicles require a longer stopping distance than a passenger vehicle. If a truck is behind you but feels close, speed up (within the legal limits) or change lanes. You also don’t want to tailgate. If the driver hits the brakes suddenly, and you hit the rear of the truck, you’re more likely to be hurt than the truck driver is.
Avoid Distracted Driving
There are two ways to avoid distracted driving — don’t do it and watch out for truck drivers who seem distracted. As a driver, don’t text and drive, avoid eating behind the wheel, and focus on the road. If you see a truck driver swerving or driving erratically, get out of its way to avoid being involved in an accident. The driver may be on their phone or they may be fatigued after too many hours behind the wheel. Either way, you don’t want to be the victim in an accident.
Avoid Blind Spots
Big trucks have big blind spots. Drivers can’t just turn their heads to see you. Every truck has a “no zone” — directly in front, directly behind, and on the sides. We’ve all seen the trucks with stickers that say, “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you.” That’s a very real issue, and one to be mindful of on the road. When passing a big truck, give plenty of clearance. If you weren’t tailgating before you passed, the driver should know you’re there.
Never Pass While a Truck Turns
When a big 18-wheeler takes a turn, they’re not just turning their cab but also a huge trailer. They need lots of space and will likely move into the adjacent lanes. Never pass a truck while it’s turning. It’s much safer to give the driver as much time as it needs to turn and get out of your way. If you’re in a hurry, you’ll be the one who suffers in that accident.
Follow All Traffic Laws
Not all trucking accidents can be prevented. There are tired, distracted, and in some cases, bad truck drivers on the road. But the best way to protect yourself is to obey all traffic laws and do what you can to avoid an accident. If the worst happens and you’re involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, it’ll be easier to show that the truck driver was at fault if you followed all the rules of the road.
Big truck accidents can be devastating. They’re one of the leading causes of fatalities on the road each year. You can’t stop a tired driver from getting behind the wheel but you can reduce accidents by doing your part. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle or 18-wheeler, work with a qualified personal injury attorney in Las Vegas to get the compensation you deserve. Contact Ed Bernstein & Associates today.