How to Stay Safe While Driving Near Tractor-Trailers and Other Commercial Trucks

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are over 500,000 commercial trucking companies in the United States. This means there are millions of large commercial trucks on the roads. These vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and often carry heavy loads. When you are driving near one of these vehicles, it can be intimidating due to their size and weight. The following are some safety tips to keep in mind to help reduce the risk of accidents. If you are in a crash, it is important to work with a Virginia Beach truck accident lawyer to get the compensation you deserve.

Maintain a Safe Following Distance

One of the most crucial safety tips when driving near large commercial trucks is to maintain a safe following distance. Trucks require a much longer stopping distance compared to smaller vehicles. The general rule of thumb is to stay at least four to six seconds behind a truck. This gives you enough time to react if the truck suddenly brakes or encounters an obstacle.

Avoid Blind Spots

Large trucks have extensive blind spots, also known as “no-zones,” where the driver’s visibility is limited. These blind spots are located on the sides, rear, and front of the truck. To stay safe, avoid lingering in these areas. If you can’t see the truck driver in their side mirrors, it’s likely they can’t see you either. Pass trucks quickly and avoid driving alongside them for extended periods.

Use Your Signals

Always use your turn signals when changing lanes or merging near a commercial truck. Signaling your intentions in advance gives the truck driver time to adjust their speed or position, reducing the likelihood of a collision. Make sure to check your mirrors and blind spots before making any maneuvers to ensure it’s safe to proceed.

Be Cautious During Turns

Large trucks have a wide turning radius, which means they may need to swing wide to complete a turn. Avoid squeezing between a turning truck and the curb or another vehicle. If you’re behind a turning truck, give them plenty of space and be patient. Trying to pass a turning truck can result in a dangerous situation.

Don’t Cut Off Trucks

Cutting off a large commercial truck is incredibly dangerous due to its longer stopping distance. Always leave ample space when merging in front of a truck, and make sure you can see the entire front of the truck in your rearview mirror before changing lanes. Abruptly cutting off a truck can force the driver to brake suddenly, leading to a potential rear-end collision.

Be Mindful of Weather Conditions

Inclement weather can exacerbate driving hazards, especially when near large trucks. Rain, snow, or ice can increase stopping distances for both your vehicle and the truck. Reduce your speed and increase the following distance in adverse weather conditions to maintain control and react to any potential hazards.

Pass with Caution

When passing a large commercial truck, do so with caution. Make sure you have plenty of space and use your turn signal to indicate your intention to pass. Accelerate smoothly and maintain a consistent speed while passing. Once you’ve safely cleared the truck, signal to merge back into the lane and leave enough room between your vehicle and the truck before returning to your original position.

A Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help

Unfortunately, no matter what type of steps you take to stay safe, there is always the risk of suffering injuries in a truck accident. If you were injured in a Virginia truck accident, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable Virginia Beach truck accident injury lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We pledge to do everything we can to get you full compensation under the law, just as we did in securing a $2.4 million wrongful death settlement for the family of a Virginia man who was killed when a large truck rear-ended his car, causing it to flip over.

Contact our office today to schedule a free case evaluation.