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7 Tips for Driving Safely Around Commercial Trucks

driving safe around commercial trucksDriving around commercial trucks can often be dangerous. The risk of an accident increases around these vehicles that have much larger blind spots, cannot easily maneuver and take much longer to stop when compared to other vehicles on the roadway.

Truck accidents often lead to significant injuries and fatalities due to the massive size of these trucks, so it is important that you take extra precautions to avoid getting injured in an accident.

If you were involved in a truck accident, it is important that you talk to an experienced Harrisburg truck accident lawyer as quickly as possible. The attorneys at Schmidt Kramer are experienced in all aspects of truck accidents. We have prepared the guide below to help you stay safe around these vehicles.

1. Keep Clear of Blind Spots

Large trucks have large blind spots. Avoid an accident by staying clear of the immediate sides, front or back of a truck. A good rule to remember is that if you cannot see the driver’s reflection in the side mirror, he or she also cannot see you.

The following locations are considered blind spots and should be avoided:

  • Within 20 feet in front of the truck
  • Within one lane to the immediate left of the truck
  • Within 30 feet behind the truck
  • Within two lanes to the immediate right of the truck

Speed up or slow down if you catch yourself in one of these dangerous locations. Be particularly careful when you merge near a truck.

2. Maintain a Safe Distance

In addition to staying out of a blind spot, it is important to trail well behind a commercial truck because trucks take longer to stop if an emergency arises. You can wind up crashing into the back of the truck. Your vehicle may even become lodged under the commercial truck.

Not maintaining a distance when stopped is also unsafe. A commercial truck can roll back on an upgrade, crashing into you. If a truck suddenly stops, it can also skid into other lanes and tip over.

3. Anticipate Wide Turns

Commercial trucks require extra room when making a turn. They have a turning radius of 55 feet. In some situations, trucks must initiate a turn from a middle lane in order to safely make the turn.

If you spot a commercial truck’s turn signal on, pull back. Do not try to squeeze into the space between the truck and the curb. When stopping at an intersection, be sure that you are behind the line to avoid getting struck by trucks that are turning.

4. Pass Safely

You may have to pass a commercial truck. Passing carefully is even more important than other vehicles because the truck cannot stop as quickly as another vehicle and truck drivers require extra time to react. It is important that you understand how to carefully carry out this driving maneuver.

Follow these steps to safely pass:

  • Look in the truck’s side mirror to see the driver
  • Activate your turn signal
  • Move into the left lane
  • Do not stay too long in the lane
  • Accelerate to get past the truck safely
  • Check your rearview mirror before you pull in front of the truck

5. Be Alert

Many people lose focus while they are driving and try to multitask during their journey. However, driving requires manual, visual and cognitive attention. If you need to eat, text or call someone, it is best to get off the road and stop driving.

Stay alert at all times while driving and minimize distractions to increase your chance of staying safe on the road. This includes not underestimating the speed or distance of a truck especially when making turns, changing lanes or merging.

6. Avoid Cutting Too Close

Cutting in too close in front of other vehicles is dangerous, but it is even more so in front of a commercial truck. This can cause you to place yourself in a blind spot or so close that a truck cannot safely stop before running into the back of your vehicle.

Even if you are visible, a truck may not be able to slow down in enough time to avoid an accident.

7. Practice Patience

Commercial trucks must follow many safety regulations. Some trucks are equipped with technology that limits their speed. Practice patience around these vehicles and avoid aggressive driving moves.

Contact a Harrisburg Personal Injury Attorney

Although you may be practicing safe driving skills while sharing the road, a negligent truck driver may still cause an accident. If you were injured by a commercial truck, contact a skilled Harrisburg personal injury attorney at Schmidt Kramer for assistance. We can investigate your claim and determine if you are entitled to pursue legal action.

Request a free, no-obligation consultation and learn what options may be available when pursuing action. We work on contingency, so there are no upfront fees unless we help you recover compensation.

Fill out our Free Case Review form today or call us at (717) 888-8888 to get started.