There has been a lot of discussion lately about commercial trucking accidents. Our last article addressed the services that an experienced law firm should provide if you have been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle. This week we’re going to address how to drive safely around commercial vehicles.

Did you know that at 2013 study found that cars were at fault about 80% of the time in fatal traffic accidents involving commercial vehicles? To help everyone get from point A to point B safely, whether you are a daily commuter, taxiing kids around, or driving for vacation or leisure, it’s important to follow these pointers when driving around semis and other large commercial vehicles.

Avoid Blind Spots

Large commercial trucks have larger blind spots than ordinary passenger vehicles and those blind spots are on all sides of the truck, including 20 feet in front of the truck and 30 feet behind the truck. On the truck driver’s side, the blind spot includes one lane to the left, extending back to about half the length of the trailer. On the truck’s passenger side, the blind spot is two lanes wide and extends slightly beyond the trailer.

Avoid driving in a truck’s blind spot whenever possible. If you can’t see the truck driver in the side mirrors, then the truck driver probably can’t see you.

Pass Safely

Because of the large blind spot on the right side of trucks, it’s safer to pass on their left side – in the fast or passing lane. Always use your turn signal when passing a commercial vehicle so that the trucker and other vehicles in the vicinity can clearly see your next move. After moving past a truck, be sure to allow plenty of room between you and the truck before merging back into the truck’s lane. Don’t squeeze into a spot in front of a truck in congested traffic.

Never Pass a Turning Truck

Semi-trailer trucks need more room to make turns. Starting a right turn from the left lane is necessary for them to get to their destination. Unfortunately, some people see this as an opportunity to get around a slower moving truck and try to pass when the truck is turning. That maneuver puts everyone at risk because the truck driver may not see a car trying to pass between the truck and the curb, and, as we stated before, it’s never good if the truck driver can’t see your car.

Allow for More Time and Space

Large commercial trucks take longer to slow down, so never cut off a truck. A truck is likely to end up crashing into your back bumper or jackknifing if it has to slow down too quickly because you cut it off and took the stopping space that it used to have. Commercial trucks also take longer to get going, so be courteous and provide room for truckers to merge in congested traffic.

Focus on the Task at Hand – Driving

There are so many distractions in our vehicles anymore that sometimes it’s easy to forget that the simplest thing we can do to stay safe is to just focus on driving. It’s always important to refrain from distractions when driving, but that’s especially true when driving around large commercial vehicles. One bad move on your part can cause a collision with a multi-ton vehicle that can have devastating effects. So, don’t engage in any activities (whether that’s eating, adjusting the stereo, using navigation systems, using your cellphone, or using any other devices) that take your eyes off the road and your attention away from driving. Similarly, don’t drive when you’re drowsy. If you can’t fully focus on driving, then pull over to take care of the distracting activity or sleep that you need before moving down the road.

Safe driving is everyone’s responsibility, and knowing how to drive safely in all circumstances will keep every driver and passenger safer. We hope that these tips are helpful, and that you and your loved ones stay safe on the roads this summer, but if a negligent driver has caused you harm call Mintz Law Firm for a free evaluation of your case.