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6 Ways to Safely Share the Road With Trucks

Arthur C. Kosieradzki - SiebenCarey "Know Your Rights" AttorneyMarch 03, 2015

We’ve all felt our heart rate speed up, thumping loudly as we pass the semi in the next lane on the highway. As such, every American should know what precautions to take to protect themselves against a potentially fatal situation.

“Truck drivers – compensated by miles driven, not hours worked – are pushed to ignore safety measures, delay repairs and drive in a fatigued state,” states The American Association of Justice in their report, Truck Safety Alert: The Rising Danger from Trucks. Sure, this economic model makes for a more eager worker, but to a fault - key danger prevention strategies are often left by the wayside. Often times, the driver in the truck next to you has been on the road for 10+ hours and is running on three hours of sleep. These drivers are overworked and underpaid.

The American Association of Justice also affirmed that trucking companies avoid being held accountable for the damages their trucks cause due to frozen insurance limits - the minimum has sat at $750,000 since 1980, despite the fact that a truck accident today can cost upwards of $4 million. The report also calculates that if the current growth in the fatality rate for truck accidents continues as it has been, with 70% of our freight expected to be carried in trucks in the next decade, roughly 58,000 people will lose their lives to truck-related accidents within 10 years. Over half a million deaths is not acceptable.

What can I do to avoid car-truck accidents?
-Large trucks maneuver differently than cars. Take care as you approach a truck, especially around curves and street corners.
-Do not pass a truck on the right if they are turning right. This may seem obvious, but unless you have made certain their right turn signal is not on do not attempt to pass.
-Trucks swing wide to the left in order to safely make a right turn. If a truck seems to be slowing down and veering left, check to make sure the driver has signaled left before passing on the right.
-If you can’t see a truck’s side-mirrors, the driver can’t see you. Trucks have more blind spots than cars. Be sure to stay clear of resting in any of them.
-Larger vehicles require more distance to successfully stop than cars. Cutting quickly in front of a truck or bus could result in a fatal rear-ending accident. Allow the large vehicle enough space to stop behind you.
-To properly pass on the highway, accelerate but maintain a consistent speed. Once you see their cab in the rear-view mirror, it is safe to signal and pull in front of them.
-Give a truck at least four to six seconds of space in wet/icy conditions and at highways speeds. This means, pretend there is another passenger car between you and the truck.

Trucks will have an increasing presence on the roads in the coming years. These safety skills are your main defense against any danger. If you witness unsafe driving, report it to the authorities. Read up on extra safety tips here.

(3,757 killed)* - new source

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