Have you been injured by a big truck? Motor vehicle accidents with “big trucks” (semis, tractor trailers, big rigs) is an all too common occurrence on our roadways. Big trucks have reduced visibility, wide turn radiuses, and the driver’s sometimes operate at high speeds and under fatigue. Collisions with big trucks can result in significant damage to your vehicle and, tragically, can also result in severe personal injury or death to you or your passengers.
So, what can you do to avoid getting involved in an accident with a big truck? Here are some tips:
- Be aware of big trucks. They may seem hard to miss, but because there are so many big trucks on the highway, they can almost blend into the background. It is important, however, to keep an eye out. When you see a big truck in your path of travel, make sure you consider that the driver may have difficulty seeing your vehicle, that the driver will likely take longer to slow down in the event of an obstacle in the road or a turn ahead, and that the big trucks take wide turns to move their cargo behind them. Make adjustments to your driving in anticipation of big truck behavior.
- Follow the speed limit. This is a good general rule for all highway driving, but is important if you are traveling in a field of big trucks. Trucks may be traveling more slowly than you expect if they are carrying a heavy load or are moving up hill. Operating above the speed limit may cause you to need to slam on your brakes to avoid rear-ending the truck or engage in unsafe maneuvers to pass the trucks.
- Reduce passing. Though there are certainly safe ways to pass big trucks on the highway, you should always do so with caution. Big trucks have a large blind spot and may not see you in the passing lane. Always use your signal, always complete your pass smoothly, without riding in the blind spot, and avoid driving only in the passing lane. Never try to pass a truck quickly before a merge; they cannot slow down quickly to avoid you if you cut in front too soon.
- Drive defensively. Another general good rule of driving is to operate your vehicle defensively. Yes, you may have right of way. However, you do not want to be in a game of chicken with a big truck. Take your own safety and the safety of your passengers very seriously. If you see a big truck wavering over the white line, try not to pass until you can move safely around the truck. Do not follow too closely. Take into account weather conditions and whether the truck is able to see your vehicle. Exercise patience and caution.
Driving with big trucks on the road is a part of our daily lives. There is a lot you can do to avoid a crash. If, however, you are in a big truck accident and it is the truck driver’s fault, you should call a competent and experienced truck accident attorney in Atlanta, GA, or locals right away to make sure that you are fairly treated.
Thank you to Andrew R. Lynch, P.C Attorney at Law for providing their insight on truck accidents and authoring this piece.