Trucks are essential, helping to support 80% of the nation’s communities and haul tons of freight from place to place to keep the economy flowing, but they’re also some of the most dangerous vehicles on the roads.
Huge and heavy, with lots of blind spots, long brake times, and low levels of general maneuverability, it’s no surprise that trucks cause a lot of the most damaging auto accidents, with a lot of pain and suffering for those involved.
This is why all drivers need to be aware of the risks that trucks can pose and be ready to drive defensively and carefully whenever trucks are near. Read on for top tips that can help you become a safer driver and reduce your risk of being involved in a trucking accident.
Avoid Passing on the Right
Usually, the main place in which you’ll encounter trucks is on the highway, and since they tend to drive at slower speeds than smaller vehicles, you’ll probably want to pass them more often than not in order to continue your journey and reach your destination more quickly and efficiently.
There’s nothing wrong with passing trucks, but you have to make sure to follow the rules and never ever try to pass them on the right. Trucks have more blind spots on the right side, and it could be almost impossible for truck drivers to spot vehicles trying to get past them that way.
We’ve already touched on the existence of truck blind spots, and it has been proven that truck drivers simply cannot see many areas to the sides, rear, and even directly in front of their vehicles. This is a big reason why so many accidents occur involving trucks.
Drivers need to be aware of this fact and do whatever they can to remain as visible as possible at all times. You may have to drive into a truck’s blind spot now and then when passing them or changing lanes, but try to get out of those areas as quickly as possible, using lights and signals to alert trucks to your presence.
Keep Your Distance
Each year, thousands of people die in accidents involving trucks. Many of those accidents are caused by drivers failing to keep their distance from trucks when driving behind them or ahead of them.
Since it takes a lot longer for trucks to slow down and come to a complete stop, accidents often happen when you get too close and aren’t able to respond in time to prevent a collision. Keeping a large distance between your car and any trucks around you will help to keep you safe.
Distracted driving is one of the biggest problems on America’s roads today, with countless drivers admitting that they let themselves get distracted by everything from text messages and alerts on their phones to in-car entertainment systems and features like radios and GPS devices.
Just a second of inattention can massively increase your chances of having an accident, so try to keep all of your focus on the road, especially when driving near and around trucks. If you look away for a moment, you might miss the chance you need to see a hazard ahead and react accordingly.
Be Careful When Parking
It’s important to note that you can even be involved in truck-related accidents when parked too. This often happens when vehicles park too close behind or in front of trucks, and truck drivers aren’t able to see such vehicles when they switch on their engines and start pulling out or reversing.
If you need to park in an area near a truck, be sure to leave some distance between your vehicle and the truck itself. The driver could simply be resting inside and might not get out and walk around to check all angles before driving away.
Make Use of Signals and Mirrors
This is a key tip to follow when driving in general, but it can be especially useful when it comes to driving near trucks, as the use of mirrors and signals can help to make you more visible and assist you with staying aware of your surroundings as you change lanes or make turns.
Too many drivers fail to use signals and mirrors correctly, simply moving their cars left and right without taking the proper precautions, and this is how a lot of accidents happen.
Truck accidents can be some of the worst, so make sure to keep all of these tips in mind whenever trucks are near. Stay safe, minimize distractions, and keep your hands on the wheel to set a good example for others and make the roads safer for all.