Large trucks are a leading cause of many traffic-related deaths in California. A tractor-trailer or eighteen-wheeler easily weighs 20 to 30 times more than a passenger vehicle. Due to its size and weight, a commercial truck is virtually guaranteed to crush a smaller vehicle in an accident.
It should come as no surprise, but many people are terrified of having to drive near or around a large, commercial truck. Below, our experienced truck accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will discuss several important recommendations for driving safely around large trucks.
If you were a victim of a truck accident, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your losses. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our truck accident attorneys are readily available to assist victims of personal injury. We will help strengthen your claim and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you are given a fair settlement offer.
It’s important to understand that trucks, due to their size, will have larger blind spots, need more space to maneuver safely, and will also need more time and space to slow down or stop. It also takes more time and finesse for a driver to pass by a truck safely.
In the next few sections, we will discuss various scenarios you may encounter while driving near a truck, as well as recommendations for how to stay safe.
Large trucks will sometimes need to swing left before making a right turn. This is inevitable. However, the danger lies in the fact that a truck driver will temporarily be unable to see any cars driving beside or directly behind them. Therefore, for example, it is a good idea to avoid moving to the right side of a truck as it is making a right turn.
If you need to pass a truck, we recommend maintaining a safe speed as you do so. Make sure that the truck’s cab is fully visible in your rear view mirror before you attempt to pass. It is always best to pass a truck on its left side. Make sure to signal and then accelerate once you pass the truck to avoid spending more time than is necessary in a truck’s blind spot.
Finally, do not pass a truck on a downgrade because it will pick up excess speed.
It bothers some drivers when it happens, but trucks need to go around you, too. Slow down when you notice that a truck needs to pass you. Reducing your speed will make things easier for the truck driver, and it also reduces a driver’s chances of being involved in an accident.
It is very dangerous to attempt passing behind a truck that is backing up or about to back up. Never pass behind a truck that is backing up because you’ll be in that truck driver’s blindspot.
Avoid the blind zone. All commercial trucks have blind spots. Generally, if a driver cannot see a truck driver in their side-view mirror, it likely means that the truck driver cannot see the motorist either. Never drive in a truck’s blind spot. Either slow down or speed up and make sure you stay visible.
Do not cut off a truck. Cutting off another vehicle is always dangerous, but it is especially risky to cut off a truck. If you cut off a truck, you may force the truck driver to slow down in order to avoid hitting you. A truck does not have enough speed to react in time and may still end up hitting the vehicle that cut them off.
Do not tailgate. You place yourself in unnecessary danger by tailgating a truck because the truck driver has no way of seeing you. In the event of an accident, a tailgating driver may end up getting pushed underneath the truck’s body, which can lead to horrific injuries. Always maintain a safe distance, especially when following a truck uphill.
Be patient. As mentioned, trucks react slowly. Driving aggressively, such as honking or repeatedly changing lanes, will not accomplish much of anything and will only cause unnecessary distractions.
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
If you have sustained injuries as a result of a truck accident, our expert truck accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.