Although truckers play an essential role in our economy, there are thousands of accidents, leading to injuries and fatalities, expensive insurance claims, and lengthy traffic jams as a result of truck driver negligence. According to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) more than 500,000 accidents involving big trucks (tractor trailers) occur each year on average.
It’s impossible to make the operator of another vehicle drive more safely, but you can take steps to help keep you and your passengers safer while sharing the road with tractor trailers. These six tips come from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
- Stay out of blind spots. Many accidents with trucks occur because the trucker did not see a vehicle in the other lane. Typically, tractor trailers have blind spots around the front, back, and sides. If you can’t see the driver in the truck’s side mirror, assume that the driver cannot see you. And if you can’t see their mirrors, then they definitely cannot see you. Don’t drive in a blind spot—speed up or slow down to stay visible, and be careful when merging near a tractor trailer.
- Pass safely. Always use your turning signal to indicate a lane change and accelerate so you can get past the truck safely and promptly. Make sure the truck is visible in your rearview mirror before you pull in front and make sure to give it extra space.
- Don’t cut in close. Cutting off a truck is especially dangerous because of the longer stopping time needed for large vehicles.
- Stay back. Tailgating is always dangerous, but particularly so with a truck where the driver may not be able to see you and you may not be able to see what is happening ahead of the truck due to its large size. Always stay 3-4 seconds behind a tractor trailer.
- Anticipate wide turns. Trucks require extra turning room; never try to squeeze by or get between the vehicle and the curb.
- Be patient. As mentioned above, it’s important to wait patiently for a truck to make turns, pass, or accelerate.
Be a safe Pennsylvania driver and be aware of the truck drivers in your path. If, however, you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a trucking accident, remember that one of the most important steps is to seek representation from a qualified, personal injury lawyer familiar with all the nuances of the law when a truck accident occurs in Pennsylvania. Contact us for a free consultation with our team of attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski.