Every day, large semi-trucks are on New Mexico roadways as truck drivers transport goods across the state and the country. When auto drivers share the road with these mammoth vehicles, they need to keep in mind that getting in an accident with a commercial vehicle can cause devastating injuries, if not death.
That’s because commercial trucks weigh between 10,000 and 80,000 pounds. When that force hits a smaller car, it’s the car and its occupants who end up crunched. In fact, in fatal large truck crashes, 60% of those who died were occupants of cars and passenger vehicles.
Your best defense against being involved in an accident with a large commercial truck is to be aware of how to safely maneuver around them. That includes these safety tips:
- Avoid driving in a truck driver’s blind spot. The right side of a semi-truck is a big blind spot for the driver and blocks the view of the vehicles near them. Also, if you’re directly behind a trailer, you could be in a truck driver’s blind spot.
- Keep a safe distance from the truck. If a semi suddenly stops or has a tire blowout or rolls over, you can easily hit it if you are following it too closely. Allow a four-second following distance between your vehicle and a large truck to give time to react to a truck’s sudden stop or movement.
- Pass quickly on the left, allowing enough room between you and the truck. Truck drivers have a smaller blind spot on the left side. You should pass them on that side and pass quickly, again to avoid the chance the driver won’t see you. You also need to make sure you leave enough room between your vehicle and the truck when passing so it doesn’t need to quickly slow down when you reenter the same lane. You should never cut off a large semi-truck.
- Give trucks more space near intersections when drivers are turning. A truck needs a wide area to turn so if you follow too closely behind one, you could be hit when a large truck is turning.
- Always signal. Trucks need more time to slow down or react to motorists changing lanes. That’s why you should always use your turn signal several seconds before making a lane change so the truck driver has time to react to your move.
- Dim bright lights. At night, if you are driving in a more rural area and using your high beams, remember to turn them down if you approach a semi. The bright light can reflect of a large truck’s mirrors, causing temporary blindness for the driver at high speeds.
By following these defensive driving tips, you’re more likely to avoid being involved in a catastrophic truck crash. If you or a loved one is involved in a truck accident, you need to consult a personal injury attorney. You’ll need their help to ensure you receive a fair settlement.