It is always important that you watch out for your safety while on the road, but especially when you are driving around big trucks. Our society relies on truckers to safely and efficiently deliver our products all around the country, but car drivers need to learn to share the road with these vehicles. At our law firm, Fuller & Fuller, we have helped people out with issues surrounding their truck accidents for decades.
Blind spots are a huge problem with big trucks. In cars, drivers have one or two blind spots. In trucks, drivers have many of them: a couple on the left side, the whole rear of the vehicle, and some traffic on their passenger side is completely invisible to truck drivers. You should try to avoid traveling right next to big trucks whenever possible, especially on their right side. It stands to reason that if you can’t see their mirrors, they can’t see you in those mirrors. Be aware that the trucker has limited visibility and drive accordingly.
Car drivers tend to underestimate the time it will take a truck to slow or stop. Car drivers dart in front of trucks and then slow down, not realizing that a loaded truck is heavy and cannot stop on a dime. Give a trucker some space and don’t change lanes right in front of them.
Sometimes it seems confusing why truck drivers choose to do what they do – for example, why do trucks seem to “pace” each other, driving right next to each other and taking up the whole road? Why does it seem like they are driving so slowly that you have to pass them? The answer is speed limiters. Big trucks are equipped with devices called governors that limit how fast the truck can go. If they are carrying heavy loads and/or going up a hill, oftentimes trucks cannot move away from each other because neither can outpace the other. These speed limiters make it so our roads are not impacted as much by heavy trucks and also make it so truck drivers cannot go at dangerously high speeds, but it can make it challenging to drive around them at times.
Driving around semitrucks can be dangerous for reasons that aren’t immediately obvious if you are not a truck driver. For example, big trucks have so much surface area that they can be blown into other lanes in high winds, especially if they are not carrying a heavy load. If you are passing the truck as a high wind blows – especially on its right side, where the driver is less able to see you – you run a higher risk of being involved in a car accident.
Another danger that people do not often think about with big trucks is that there is so much weight on their tires that their tires can pop easily. These blowouts cause the trucks to swerve across multiple lanes and are obviously very dangerous for the surrounding cars. The risk of tire blowouts and the risk of being unseen in their blind spots mean that the safest decision is to move away from big trucks whenever possible and give them some space.