How Can I Reduce My Risk of a Truck Accident?

Sharing the road with large commercial trucks is as risky as it is unavoidable, so drivers should always take precautions, such as avoiding distractions and increasing their following distance. The odds of being involved in an accident increase around commercial trucks because they take longer to come to a stop, are not easy to maneuver, and have significantly bigger blind spots, compared to passenger vehicles. In 2021, 4,714 people were killed in commercial truck accidents, a 17% increase from the previous year. 16% of fatalities were occupants of the truck, 68% were occupants of a smaller vehicle, and 15% were motorcycle riders, bicyclists, or pedestrians. If you were harmed in an accident caused by a commercial truck, reach out to the skilled Virginia Beach truck accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule your free case review right away. 

In the meantime, some ways that you can reduce your risk of being involved in a commercial truck accident include:

Avoid Driving in Blind Spots

Commercial trucks have much bigger blind spots than passenger vehicles. Areas to avoid include:

  • A single lane’s width on the driver’s side, reaching halfway down the trailer 
  • Two lanes width on the passenger side, reaching just behind the trailer 
  • 30 feet behind the trailer
  • 20 feet in front of the cab 

Drivers should always avoid riding in a truck’s blind spots. Slow down or pass the truck so that you are visible in the wing mirrors.

The wing mirrors on commercial trucks are much bigger than those on passenger vehicles and they are easily affected by high beams and unduly bright headlights. If you are behind a truck, always make sure your low beams are on so you don’t blind the truck driver when they look in their mirrors. 

Pass Safely

If you are going to pass another vehicle, you should always do so safely. However, safe passing becomes even more essential when you are near a commercial truck. These large, heavy vehicles are unable to come to a stop as quickly as a passenger car or truck. Commercial truck drivers need ample time to react to unexpected occurrences and to brake or adjust their speed accordingly.

When passing a commercial truck, drivers should always do so from the truck’s lefthand side since the driver will have an easier time noticing them. Maintain a consistent speed as you are overtaking the truck and always use your turn indicators. Before merging back into your original lane, ensure that you can see the truck in your rearview mirror.  

If a truck is attempting to pass you, slow down to give the driver enough room in front of your vehicle to maneuver efficiently and safely.

Keep a Safe Following Distance

Always increase your following distance to four or more seconds when you are driving behind a commercial truck. If you follow too closely, the driver will not be able to see you. If the truck brakes unexpectedly, or you are rear-ended while tailgating a truck, your car could be forced underneath the trailer. This is known as an underride accident and they are almost always catastrophic.

Maintaining a safe following distance will also give you additional time to react to rollovers and tire blowouts.  

Be Aware of Wide Turns

Commercial trucks have a considerable turning radius, especially when compared to a standard vehicle. This is because the trailer and the cab both follow different paths. A truck driver might need to veer left in order to have enough room to make a righthand turn or even start their turn from the middle lane rather than the turning lane. 

Never try to overtake a truck with its turn signal on, and never drive between a truck and a curb. When stopped at an intersection, ensure that your car is well behind the line, since trucks need that room to make turns as safely as possible. 

Avoid Distractions

Distracted drivers endanger themselves and those around them. When behind the wheel, all drivers should avoid using phones, GPSs, stereos, and any other devices that pull their focus from the road. 

By concentrating on the task at hand, you will be sure to notice any trucks near you that may be merging, turning, or changing lanes as well as estimate the speed at which they are moving.  

Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Truck accident injuries, many of which are serious and have lifelong repercussions, can have a serious impact on your day-to-day life. The knowledgeable Virginia Beach truck accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have been successfully litigating cases involving negligent truck drivers since 1985. One example of this is the $3.5 million wrongful death settlement we won for the family of a man who died after his vehicle was hit from behind by a flatbed truck.  

If you were injured in a truck accident, schedule a free case evaluation with one of our skilled attorneys by calling (833) 997-1774 or by filling out our easy contact form online. Our offices are located in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Hampton, and Norfolk.