Sharing the road with a commercial vehicle may seem daunting. After all, they do weigh approximately 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. However, when compared to the average sedan (at only 3,000 to 5,000 pounds), that’s a huge difference.
In 2019, 4,119 people died because of large truck accidents. 67% of those deaths were the drivers of cars and other types of passenger vehicles.
Unfortunately, not all crashes involving semi-trucks can be avoided. However, you can reduce your risk of getting into an accident by practicing safe driving around commercial vehicles.
What’s Different About Driving a Commercial Vehicle
There are many differences when it comes to driving a commercial vehicle. Drivers are required to carry special licenses and go through training to ensure that they’re fully prepared to operate these larger vehicles.
Commercial vehicles have a smaller field of vision, making their blind spot large. On top of that, large trucks are also much harder to stop, so their reaction times are slower. This means that drivers don’t have as much time to react to changing traffic conditions.
These vehicles also make much wider turns than regular cars and trucks, and they’re more vulnerable to the weather, meaning that you should drive more cautiously around them in poor weather conditions.
1. Keep Your Distance
When driving behind a commercial vehicle, you should always keep your distance. The following distance that you leave is important, as they have large blind spots. If you’re following too closely, they won’t be able to see you at all.
You should give commercial motor vehicle spaces on all sides, whether you’re in front of them, behind them, or beside them. It’s best practice to keep four seconds of following distance between you and a commercial motor vehicle at all times.
If you don’t keep your distance you could put yourself at higher risk of being injured because of sudden stops, tire blowouts, or rollover accidents.
2. Avoid Blind Spots
Speaking of blind spots, you should do your best to stay out of them. Commercial vehicles have huge blind spots, and swerving in and out of them could cause an accident to occur.
The right side of a commercial vehicle is the largest of their blind spot and can block their view for a few lanes. You should also use caution when driving directly in front of the cab, as this blind spot is quite large as well.
In general, you should avoid camping in these areas. Stay out of their blind spot as much as you can to prevent an accident from occurring.
3. Pass Quickly
Passenger vehicles are much faster than commercial motor vehicles, so you’ll likely pass quite a few trucks on your drive. To stay out of their blind spot, you’ll want to pass them quickly. Don’t linger beside a large truck, as they may not be able to see you.
If they can’t see you, you could be at risk for a lane change accident, so get out of their blind spot as quickly as you can while still following traffic regulations.
While you should pass quickly, you should never cut off a commercial motor vehicle, as they don’t have the ability to stop quickly and you could cause a rear-end accident or pile-up accident If you aren’t careful.
4. Always Use Your Blinker
You should always practice safe lane changes when around large trucks. Use your blinker and check before changing lanes to ensure that you’re not cutting anyone off or forcing anyone to suddenly stop.
When you use your blinker, you let people know that you’re about to change lanes, giving them the time to slow down before you actually move over. This is especially important with large trucks, as they require the extra slow-down time.
5. Practice Defensive Driving
Unfortunately, you’ll never know how everyone else is driving, whether they’re distracted, angry, or inexperienced, you can’t control how they drive. The same is true of large truck drivers, who often cause accidents because of distraction, DUI, and more.
However, you can always control your own driving. Making smart decisions and practicing defensive driving is the best way to ensure that you don’t get into an accident.
There’s no way to prevent all accidents from occurring, but driving defensively can save you in some situations.
Contact a Minnesota Personal Injury Attorney For Your Truck Accident Claim
Truck accidents can be devastating, leaving victims with severe injuries like traumatic brain injury, paralysis, and even death. These accidents result in massive medical debt and a change in one’s quality of life.
You deserve to get the most compensation for these damages, and our team of talented attorneys can help to ensure that you do. Here at Sand Law, we care about our clients and our years of experience will be invaluable to you.
Not only will we help you get the best settlement possible, but we’ll speak with insurance companies on your behalf so you can focus on relaxing and recovering from your injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured, please contact us ASAP.