We write about the dangers of big trucks on the road all the time, usually with a signature “be safe and be careful.” Every once in a while, it’s worth revisiting exactly what that means. Everyone knows that different cars handle differently; your four-door sedan and your neighbor’s 3-ton pickup truck have very different sightlines, cornering abilities, and stopping times. Commercial trucks handle these maneuvers in ways that are almost incomparable; here’s how to share the road safely.
A good rule of thumb
If you can’t see the driver of a big truck, either directly, in your mirrors, or his/her mirrors, they can’t see you. Line of sight is tremendously important; big trucks don’t have the benefit of rearview mirrors, so blind spots are larger and cover more area that in passenger vehicles. In big trucks, blind spots are referred to as “no-zones,” areas that other vehicles should stay out of to avoid being unintentionally hit. Haulage Report Now illustrates the basic no-zones with this graphic.
However, even this visual doesn’t illustrate the true extent of the blind spots that truckers have to deal with. The lack of a rearview mirror makes drivers entirely reliant on their side view mirrors; as a result, a truly safe following distance directly behind a tractor-trailer is almost 200 feet. This gives you time to react to traffic in front of the truck that would be obscured when following more closely.
Passing and stopping
The American Trucking Association recommends, “When passing a truck and moving back into its lane make sure you can see the truck’s headlights in your rear view mirror before you cut back in. That allows the truck enough space to slow down or stop if something happens up ahead. …Even if the driver makes a monumental effort they may not be able to stop if you haven’t left them enough room. …Don’t fill in that space and take up that safety buffer that the driver is trying to maintain.”
Professional truck drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely and with reasonable precaution, a responsibility that is shared by all motorists. Knowing how to safely share the road with large and small vehicles alike can prevent dangerous conditions that threaten everyone. Unfortunately, even the most cautious drivers can crash in the best conditions. When accidents involve big trucks, no one wins.
If you or your loved one has been the victim of a commercial truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical bills and lost work. The experienced Kentucky and Ohio commercial truck accident attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. Call 877.686.8879 for our Ohio team, 877.651.7764 for our Kentucky team, or contact us today for a free consultation.