One of the most intimidating things for many drivers is traveling alongside a tractor-trailer or two, especially on a highway. Many vehicle drivers are aware of the truck accident statistics and just driving near one of the massive vehicles can cause anxiety levels to spike.
Concerns about whether the vehicle is overloaded, whether or not you are in their blind spot, and they can see you as they suddenly change into the lane in front of you, and whether it is safe for you to pass the truck are all things that may be going through your mind.
So, what is the best way for passenger vehicles to share the roads with tractor-trailers and stay safe? One of the best ways to avoid a truck crash is to think like a tractor-trailer driver.
Think Like a Truck Driver
When driving near trucks, safety advocates say if you consider the perspective of the truck driver, you can greatly reduce the risk of being in a crash. Consider these following suggested tips:
- Make sure to leave enough space for the truck to stop. Trucks that are fully loaded can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This much weight requires approximately 550 feet to come to a complete stop if the vehicle is traveling at 55 m.p.h. To imagine what 550 feet looks like: it is the equivalent of two dozen Honda Accords lined up.
- Do not grill gate. Grill gating is when a car passes a truck and then drives in front of it going at the same speed. It can be almost impossible for a tractor-trailer – especially a fully loaded one – to avoid crashing a vehicle in front of them under these circumstances in the event of an emergency stop.
- Do not stay next to a truck for extended periods of time. This will likely leave you in the truck’s blind spot, with the driver unable to see you. It is better to pass the truck in this situation.
- Do not speed up while merging onto a highway to try to beat an oncoming tractor-trailer. When you are merging, slow your vehicle down and let the truck pass before you enter the highway. Trucks cannot maneuver like other passenger vehicles and these situations often end up in tragic accidents.
- When passing a truck, always pass on the left. Truck drivers have much more awareness on the left-hand side. Many trucks even have arrow decals on the back of their vehicles which indicate to a driver that the arrow pointing to the left is the “passing side” and the arrow pointing to the right is “suicide.”
Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact a Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have against the responsible party or parties. At Shapiro, Appleton, Washburn & Sharp, our legal team has successfully advocated for many truck accident victims and their families, and we understand how complex these cases can be. Our attorneys are available to meet and discuss the details of your case and how we may be able to help.
For more information about truck accidents in Virginia, please download our free guide.
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