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How to Share the Road with Truck Drivers

truck-driver-in-front-of-truck | How to Share the Road with Truck DriversThe sheer size of commercial trucks makes them a special hazard on the roadways of America. Part of the issue lies with the drivers of the smaller vehicles who lack understanding of the particular nature of trucks. Sharing the road with large commercial trucks requires being aware of both the capabilities as well as the limitations of the larger vehicle. While you may consider commercial trucks to be huge, noisy and downright scary at times, the fact is that over 80 percent of our communities in the United States depend on truck drivers to deliver the goods we use every day. Commercial trucks really are the backbone of our transportation system, and they are here to stay. 

Over fifteen million large commercial trucks currently transport our goods from city to city, with over 3.5 million truck drivers behind the wheel of the big rigs. About 10% of the 45,000 fatalities each year are due to a truck-related accident, and, in fact, when a much smaller passenger car collides with an 80,000 pound loaded truck, the odds are not in favor of the driver or passengers of the smaller vehicle. There are ways you can increase your safety when sharing the road with commercial trucks.

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  1. First, be aware that when a large commercial truck must make a right-hand turn, they have no choice but to slide over into the left lane in order to allow the length of the truck to make the turn. Those who ignore this fact—and the truck driver’s signal—and drive on the right side of the truck as it slides to the left risk being crushed between the curb and the truck. Should the car pull to the left, they risk being sideswiped by the truck’s length.
  2. Stopping is an issue for large trucks as well, and many people simply assume the truck can stop in the same manner as their car. For a large commercial truck to go from a speed of 55 mph to a complete stop takes at least a hundred yards—the length of a football field. When the roads are icy or wet, you can double this stopping distance. Make sure you allow lots of space when you pass a truck, not pulling back into their lane until there is plenty of distance between you and the truck. If you are in front of a commercial truck, signal your intentions long before you are ready to turn, slow or stop, remembering the truck takes a considerable amount of time to brake.
  3. Make yourself visible to the truck drivers you share the road with. A truck has several blind spots, most particularly the sides and directly behind the truck. Truck drivers depend on their mirrors, and if you are following too closely behind the truck the driver will be unable to see you. In the same way, if you are driving directly to the side of the truck, particularly around the middle portion, the driver may not see you, and may change lanes believing there is no vehicle in the next lane. If you are driving less than twenty feet in front of the truck you are also in a blind spot—the driver cannot see you over the engine, so stay well ahead of the truck. Remember—if you are unable to see the driver in his or her mirrors, it is unlikely you can be seen.
  4. If you are behind a truck on an uphill incline and there is a stop sign or stop light, don’t forget that the truck is likely to roll back considerably further than a car in the same situation. When the driver releases the brake and engages the clutch from a stop in preparation of driving forward, the truck will roll back. Leave plenty of room between your car and the truck, and remain a little to the left of your lane so the trucker will be more likely to see you.
  5. If you intend to pass a truck, pull into the right hand lane, and pass quickly—don’t linger in their blind spot. If you drive in the lane directly beside a large commercial truck, you risk a tire blowout on the truck with the likelihood that you will be hit by rubber flung from the tire.

Further Reading: Injured in a Rental Car Accident – Now What?

Above all, simply remember that semi-trucks handle much differently from passenger vehicles therefore you must exercise a little common-sense in order to avoid an accident. If, despite your safety precautions, you have been injured in a trucking accident, it is important that you contact a personal injury attorney quickly. There are different rules and statutes of limitation concerning trucking accidents, and you will want to ensure your rights are fully protected.

Contact Our Experienced Broomfield Trucking Accident Lawyers

Broomfield Personal Injury Attorneys Hull & ZimmermanIf you or someone you love has been injured in a trucking accident in Broomfield, Northglenn, Westminster, Thornton, or anywhere in Colorado, it is important to contact our experienced personal injury attorneys immediately. At Hull & Zimmerman, P.C., our committed personal injury lawyers are dedicated to the belief that everyone deserves justice. Contact us at (303) 423-1770 or (866) 385-3505.

Our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience representing injured accident victims in Broomfield, Arvada, Superior, Lafayette, Louisville, Erie, Brighton, Commerce City, Northglenn, Westminster, Thornton, Longmont, and throughout Colorado

 

 

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