Mind the gap - give space to remain safe
We hear about it almost every day, a crash involving a semitruck. On average, there is a large truck crash in Wisconsin more than 18 times per day according to Wisconsin DOT statistics. Most people you talk to have a dreadful story to tell about an experience they have had with a semitruck on the highway and how they nearly avoided a serious accident or death by the carelessness of the truck driver.
Semitrucks often weigh in excess of 10,000 pounds. This means that injuries suffered when one hits you are much more critical than in a regular car accident. In 2017, 4,761 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in the United States, according to National Center for Statistics and Analysis data. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says 72% of those who died in these crashes were in the other vehicles. These are scary statistics.
It is easy to blame untrained, inexperienced or fatigued semitruck drivers for these accidents. But in reality, many motorists simply are not aware of the possible dangers that occur when large and small vehicles share the road. While it is not possible to avoid sharing the road with semitrucks, there are things you can do to travel safer around these vehicles. What can you do to safely share the road with semitrucks? Hupy and Abraham, S.C. has prepared some guidelines to follow to improve everyone’s chances of staying safe out there.
- Avoid blind spots Semitrucks have four large blind spots. These blind spot areas include: directly in front, directly behind and along each side — especially on the right side. A general rule of thumb is the larger the vehicle, the larger the blind spot. If you cannot see the driver’s face in his or her side mirror, he or she cannot see you either. Avoid driving in any of these blind spots at all times.
- Pass safely
The largest blind spot is to the right of semitrucks. They can span multiple lanes. Therefore, always pass semitrucks on the left side. Always use your turn signal -- they are there for a reason! Put your blinker on to let semitruck drivers know your intentions, even if no one is behind you. Take your time and do not rush the passing decision. Make sure that you have enough time to pass safely.
- Do not cut a truck off and allow extra space It is very natural to want to get ahead of large semitrucks as soon as possible as they are often much slower moving. Keep in mind that you cannot do so in the same way you can a regular car. Large trucks and semis have worse visibility, and need extra space and time to turn, stop and slow down. It takes a large truck 40% longer to stop than the average vehicle. Cutting directly in front of a truck puts you both at risk. Keep this in mind, wait until you can see both of the truck’s headlights in your rearview mirror before moving in front of a truck. Always maintain a safe distance and never tailgate. A safe following distance is a 10-car length gap.
- Stop the distractions
Distracted driving is dangerous in any situation. However, it is an even more dangerous when trucks are involved. Do not text and drive or check your phone while the vehicle is moving. Accidents can be caused by things as simple as picking up an item that you dropped or reaching to grab something from the glovebox. Do not do anything, especially while around trucks, that causes you to take your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. Remaining fully aware of what is going on around you is one or your best defenses to avoid accidents.
Accidents involving semitrucks can be very life-changing events. If your or a loved one is injured in an accident, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your case is key. Please contact the personal injury experts at Hupy and Abraham for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call 800-800-5678 or start a live chat with us anytime at Hupy.com.