According to the American Trucking Association, there are 37.9 million trucks that are registered and in use that move 72.5 percent of the nation’s freight by weight. There were 10.23 billion tons of freight moved by trucks in 2020.
The sheer volume of these numbers means that nearly every time you’re on the road, you encounter a truck. Because their size and weight are significantly greater than cars and other motor vehicles, truck accidents can have disastrous consequences. You can greatly reduce the risk of an accident with a large truck by taking some of the following simple steps.
Stay Out of Blind Spots
Commercial trucks have far larger blind spots than the average passenger vehicle. The largest blind spot is on the passenger side of the truck. The safest place for a car to pass the truck is on the driver’s side. This increases the potential that the truck driver will see you and not accidentally merge into your car.
When possible, you should stay out of a commercial driver’s blind spots. A rule of thumb is that if you cannot see the driver in the cab or in the truck’s mirrors, they likely cannot see you. Blind spots for a commercial truck are in:
- The driver’s side lane back about half the length of the trailer
- The first 20 feet in front of the truck
- The first 30 feet behind the truck
- The two lanes on the passenger side of the truck
Allowing adequate space behind a truck also improves your visibility on the road. When you follow a large commercial vehicle closely, you can fail to see approaching road hazards that may not affect a larger vehicle, such as potholes, debris on the road, and slowing traffic.
Cutting in front of a truck while merging takes away the critical space a truck requires to slow or stop on the highway. This increases the potential risk of being rear-ended by a vehicle that is significantly larger and heavier than yours.
Give the Truck More Space
Motor vehicles should give trucks plenty of space on the highway. This increases the potential that you’ll be out of their blind spot but also reduces the risk of an accident caused by other factors. For example, when a truck tire blows out, pieces of the tire can break off and hit your car or your windshield. This can cause you to overcorrect and have an accident.
If a commercial truck must suddenly brake, the truck may tip over, or your car may slide underneath. High winds can also cause a truck to roll. The size and weight of a commercial truck mean they require more space to stop and slow down.
Before passing a truck, changing lanes, or turning near a commercial truck, be sure you use your car’s signals. This allows the truck driver to anticipate your actions. Consider using your signal sooner than you normally would to give the driver adequate time to adjust their speed and avoid a collision.
Trucks often require multiple lanes to turn in an intersection. Drivers should never pass on the side the truck means to turn and avoid following too closely.
Use Caution While Passing
Since commercial trucks cannot stop as quickly or maneuver as easily, you should be careful while passing. Always pass on the truck’s driver’s side. Do not pass a truck while it’s going uphill or downhill since the truck will likely not maintain its speed, which can cause you to over or under correct. Maintain your speed while you’re passing and use the correct signals. After passing the truck, do not merge in front until you can clearly see the driver in your rearview mirror.
One of the common causes of all car accidents is distracted driving. The same is true of truck accidents. It is crucial that you do not operate your vehicle while you’re texting, eating, drinking, or watching your GPS. Any distraction that takes your eyes, hands, and attention off the road can cause distracted driving. Even noisy or demanding passengers can create enough of a distraction to increase the risk of an accident.
Contact an Experienced Team Today
Our team of compassionate and skilled of Chicago truck accident attorneys understands the burden you can face after a significant truck accident. We believe that our clients should spend their time recovering from your injuries and leave the complicated and often time-consuming legal process to us.
We will advise you on how to speak with the insurance adjusters and help you request and understand the accident report. We will also help you gather evidence, like the information from the truck driver’s log and black box.
Don’t delay, every minute counts when gathering evidence after an accident. Give yourself the best shot to recover the maximum amount in compensation possible. Contact Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC to get to work with an experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer today.