Going out on the road by yourself after getting your driver’s license can be intimidating. No matter how confident you feel, accident and injury risks can lurk right around the corner. One of the best things to do as a new driver is to learn about some of the most common accident risks. This includes the risk of collisions with semi-trucks and 18-wheelers. The more you know about being safe around large trucks, the lower your odds of getting into an Omaha truck accident.
Keep Your Distance
You should never crowd any driver on the road, but it is especially important to keep a safe distance around semi-trucks. Large commercial trucks cannot stop as quickly as smaller motor vehicles. This means if you pass a truck, cut it off and then slam on your brakes, the truck is much more likely to rear-end you.
In another example, if you are tailgating (driving too closely behind a large truck) and it hits the brakes, the back of the trailer could go through your windshield and cause serious head and brain injuries, including decapitation. Protect yourself from these accident risks by giving large trucks plenty of room to maneuver.
Be Mindful of Blind Spots
Trucks have enormous blind spots – places where the truck driver cannot see other vehicles around him or her due to the length of the trailer. These blind spots extend 30 feet to the rear of the truck, 20 feet to the front, one lane to the left and two lanes to the right. In these areas, assume that the truck driver cannot see you. Pass through blind spots as quickly as possible; do not hesitate or hover in a truck driver’s blind spot, or you could be at risk of the driver merging on top of you.
Pass Quickly and Safely
If you encounter a semi-truck on the road, quickly but safely pass the truck, if you can. The safest position to be in is away from the large truck. Pass to the left of the truck, increasing your speed only enough to safely pass without driving at an excessive speed. Signal your intent to get back over in front of the large truck ahead of time. Only move back over when you have at least 20 feet of distance between your car and the front of the truck.
Watch Out for Wide Turns
Semi-trucks that are pulling trailers make wide turns. To execute a right-hand turn, for example, a truck must swing out to the left first before turning right. If you see a semi-truck that is about to turn, do not attempt to pass it – especially on the side that the truck is turning. The truck driver may not see you and could turn directly on top of your vehicle. Instead, come to a stop a safe distance behind the truck and patiently wait for the truck to finish its turn before proceeding.
Be on the Lookout for Dangerous Truck Drivers
Despite operating large and dangerous vehicles, truck drivers are just like other drivers: prone to errors and mistakes. Unfortunately, this can result in deadly truck accidents caused by negligent, careless and distracted truck drivers. The best way to protect yourself is by constantly being on the lookout for dangerous drivers.
When approaching a big rig, look for red flags such as a trucker who is speeding, tailgating, driving aggressively, erratically braking or accelerating, weaving in and out of a lane, drifting over the line, or running red lights. These are signs of a dangerous truck driver who may be intoxicated, incompetent, drowsy or in a fit of road rage.
Keep a safe distance from dangerous truck drivers. Do not attempt to get the driver’s attention or run the truck off the road. Make note of the name of the trucking company and consider filing a complaint about the dangerous driver. If the situation is an emergency, call 911 to report the dangerous truck driver.
Don’t hesitate to contact Knowles Law Firm for a free case consultation with one of our experienced Omaha truck accident lawyers.