It can be intimidating driving next to or in front of an 18 wheeler. From the draft coming off the truck to the difficulty seeing when the truck is looming in the rear view mirror, car drivers express frustration and fear about big trucks. But did you know that cars are considered the greatest potential hazard for truckers? Cars create more potential for danger than road conditions, weather, and other big trucks. Part of this danger is because car drivers don't understand the dangers involved in driving a big truck weighing 80,000 pounds or more. Here's what car drivers need to know to keep themselves, their passengers, and truck drivers safe.
Understand the Difference in Stopping Ability
Cars and trucks have a very different ability to stop quickly. Trucks require a great deal of time and distance to stop safely. For example, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the average stopping distance for a car driving 55 miles per hour in ideal conditions is 133 feet. However, in those same conditions, a big truck requires 196 feet to stop. Of course, braking distances are negatively impacted by certain road surfaces, as well as weather conditions and debris on the roadway. As such, it is important that car drivers not expect a truck to stop as quickly as they can.
Recognize Visibility Concerns
The long hood on a semi prevents drivers from seeing for at least 20 feet in front of their truck. This inability to see puts car drivers traveling in front of a truck in danger. Any sudden movement or unpredictable choice could result in a situation where the truck driver cannot stop in time.
One of the biggest challenges truck drivers face is anticipating the next moves of another driver. When traveling near big trucks, make sure to signal lane changes well in advance. If you see the potential for a need to slow down, begin to do so gradually rather than waiting and slamming on the brakes at the last minute.
Recognize and Respect Blind Spots
Like a car, a truck has blind spots on all sides. However, truck blind spots tend to be much larger. The worst blind spot is on the truck's right side. When passing a truck, do so on the left if at all possible. Signal your lane change and pass the truck as quickly as possible. Remember not to get back into the same lane as the truck too soon. Give the truck wide berth so you are well out of the truck's front blind spot before putting yourself back in front.
At Frost & Kavanaugh, we have seen the consequences of truck-car crashes. We want you and your loved ones to stay safe. If you have been a victim of a car and truck collision, contact the firm for a free consultation. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, your pain and suffering, and your lost wages. Call today to see what we can do for you.