Helpful Tips on Safely Sharing Lanes With Semi-Trucks

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Semi-trucks are some of the most dangerous vehicles on the road. They are much larger and heavier than the average car, giving them the upper hand in motor vehicle accidents. A collision involving a large truck can be catastrophic for those in the smaller car. You can reduce the risk of getting into a serious Omaha truck accident with these safety tips.

Helpful Tips on Safely Sharing Lanes With Semi-Trucks

Practice Defensive Driving

Defensive driving is the practice of constantly anticipating dangerous roadway situations. Rather than assuming that all drivers will obey the law and drive prudently, defensive drivers do the opposite. They assume that surrounding drivers will make mistakes and are prepared to react to avoid collisions. Defensive drivers continuously scan the road, remain vigilant, think ahead and anticipate dangerous situations. 

Defensive driving around an 18-wheeler could enable you to swerve, change lanes or hit the brakes in time to prevent a serious crash if the truck driver breaks a traffic law. Despite being in control of dangerous vehicles, truck drivers often violate laws. Common examples include speeding, driving under the influence, following too closely and making unsafe lane changes.  Being a defensive driver can put you in a stronger position if and when a truck driver breaks the rules.

Stay Out of the No Zone

The No Zone is the phrase used to describe the large blind spots that semi-trucks have due to their large length and height. Truck drivers have severe visibility limitations on all four sides of the vehicle. The No Zone extends approximately 20 feet in front of the truck, 30 feet behind the truck, one lane to the left and two lanes to the right. 

A good rule of thumb is that if you cannot see the truck driver’s face in the truck’s rearview mirror, the truck driver cannot see you. Avoid hovering in a No Zone for any amount of time. If you have to pass a large truck, only drive alongside the truck for as long as is necessary to execute the maneuver.

Pass as Quickly as Possible

The longer you remain near a semi-truck on a highway in Nebraska, the higher your chances of getting involved in an accident. Do not linger near a large truck. Take the first opportunity you have to safely pass. Start by making sure you can see the truck driver in his or her mirror. This can help ensure that the driver also sees you. Use your turn signal, then move into the left lane and accelerate past the truck as quickly as possible without speeding. Do not get back over in front of the truck until it is visible in your rearview mirror. Never pass from the right lane and do not pass on a downgrade, as trucks can pick up speed downhill.

Never Cut a Truck Driver Off

Commercial trucks do not possess the same stopping power as ordinary motor vehicles. A normal passenger car takes around 316 feet to stop when traveling at 65 miles per hour, while a fully loaded large truck has a stopping distance of about 525 feet when traveling at the same speed. It is important to never cut off or brake-check a large truck. The truck may be unable to stop in time to avoid rear-ending you. Some rear-end collisions involving large trucks are override accidents, where the truck drives up and over the smaller car. These accidents can crush the smaller car and severely injure those inside.

Pay Attention and Stay Focused

Do not let your guard down when sharing lanes with semi-trucks. Keep 100 percent of your attention on the road and the driving task. Never drive while intoxicated, fatigued or distracted. If you get a text message or need to adjust your GPS, pull over and stop driving to do so. Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Taking your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off the driving task even for a moment could lead to a devastating truck accident.