Hitting the highway is almost an American pastime, alongside hot dogs and baseball. We tie memories of road trips with hitting the open road and the many branching interstates that span from coast to coast. Though there are many positive memories associated with highways, there are also notable risks with the often high speeds and unpredictable traffic encountered on most highways systems across the country–one such risk is sharing the road with semi trucks.
Semi trucks are the lifeblood of shipping, bolstering both online and retail shopping by getting product from point A to B in a hurry. Simply stated, semi trucks and their talented drivers are an integral asset to our economy. However, they also pose a risk to drivers in a few substantial ways that every driver should understand before hitting the highways.
How to Safely Share the Highway with Semi Trucks
- Be Mindful of Blind Spots: Every vehicle has blind spot areas that all drivers should be conscious of when on the road. That being understood, realize that you can help lower the chance of a semi truck driver not seeing you by avoiding their blind spots. These trucks are behemoths of the road, which make their blind spots much larger than most other vehicles. The top danger zones when sharing the road with semi trucks is directly behind their trailers, near the driver’s side door, just behind the passenger’s side of the vehicle and directly in front of the truck. If you steer clear of these areas of the truck, you and the driver can cruise with confidence.
- Drive Carefully and Deliberately: Erratic driving, speeding and swerving in and out of lanes is dangerous around other cars. That danger is multiplied when driving negligently around semi trucks that take far longer that cars to maneuver out of danger. When sharing the highway with semi trucks, never forget to use turn signals early and often, never swerve across lanes and avoid speeding and sudden stops.
- Distraction Can Be Deadly: We often preach the importance of driving without distractions but that is especially true when on highways with semi trucks. Unforeseen dangers like tire blowouts, erratic fellow motorists and strong gusts of wind could lead to a truck suddenly stopping or being forced to swerve. If your focus is on your radio, cell phone or fast food instead of the road, you are an accident waiting to happen. Always keep your hand on the steering wheel and eyes on the road.
- Always Pass On the Left: As mentioned at our bullet on blind spots, semi trucks have quite a few blind spots. However, as the passenger is sitting on the left side of the vehicle (at least in America), there is far less of a blind spot on the left side of the truck. Therefore, if you are going to pass a truck, be sure to do so on the left, utilizing your turn signal and checking your own blind spot before moving into the passing lane.
Semi truck drivers hold a lot of responsibility for safe driving when behind the wheel, including making mandatory breaks for sleep, never texting and driving and following the rules of the road. Though they may be safe and professional drivers, not everyone who shares the highways with them are quite as responsible. In order to safeguard all motorists, do your part by avoiding blind spots, driving carefully, avoiding distractions and always passing semi trucks on the left. For more information and data on sharing the road with semi trucks, review this helpful infographic from Visually. Together, we can keep the pastime of highway driving a positive and positively safe one.
If you, a friend or a loved one are unfortunately injured as a result of a trucking or automobile accident or have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Wieland, Hilado & DeLattre, P.A. at (407) 841-7699. For additional resources, keep checking our blog, LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more helpful hints and to always be informed about best practices in law. – See more at http://www.whdjustice.com.