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How to Drive Safely Around Semi-Trucks

 

Sharing the road with a semi-truck can present some distinct dangers. These enormous commercial vehicles have significant blind spots and can’t maneuver as quickly as most cars. And because semi-trucks often weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, a collision can be devastating for a smaller vehicle.

So what precautions should you take when driving near a semi-truck? Let’s take a look.

1. Keep Your Distance

You should always leave plenty of space between yourself and a semi-truck, whether you’re in front, behind, or beside them. If you get too close, you could get in an accident.

If you’re driving in front of a semi-truck, make sure to keep well ahead of it. Semi-trucks can’t stop or turn on a dime, and if you have to slam on your brakes for some reason, the driver will need ample time to bring his massive vehicle to a halt.

And if you’re following a semi-truck, it’s always best to stay at least four seconds behind them. That way, if they have to stop unexpectedly or experience a tire blowout, you’ll have time to brake before colliding with them.

2. Avoid Blind Spots

Semi-trucks have significant blind spots where they can’t see other vehicles. The main “danger zones” around a semi-truck are:

  • 20 feet in front of it
  • 30 feet behind it
  • One lane wide on the driver’s side, running back about half the length of the trailer
  • Two lanes wide on the passenger side, reaching back slightly behind the trailer

Try to avoid these spots as much as possible, and do your best to make sure the driver is aware of you.

3. Pass Safely

Semi-trucks usually can’t drive all that fast, so if you end up behind one, there’s a good chance you’ll want to pass. Use caution, however. Passing means traveling through a blind spot, so get in front again as quickly as possible while still following traffic regulations.

Don’t pull back into your original lane right in front of the semi-truck, either. Make sure you’re a safe distance ahead before you merge. It’s never wise to cut off a semi-truck.

4. Always Use Your Turn Signal

Using your turn signal is always a good policy, but it’s vital around semi-trucks.

When driving in front of a semi-truck, using your signal when turning will give the driver enough warning to slow or change lanes to keep from hitting you. Don’t wait till the last second, either. The sooner the semi-truck driver knows you’re turning, the better.

And if you intend to merge into the same lane as a semi-truck—after passing, for example—use your turn signal to make your intentions clear.

5. Watch for Wide Turns

Semi-trucks need a lot more room to make turns than most vehicles. Please don’t attempt to pass a semi-truck preparing to turn, and give them ample space at intersections. A driver may need to swing his truck over a wide area to complete even a simple turn.

6. Practice Defensive Driving

No matter how careful you are around semi-trucks, there will always be factors out of your control. Semi-truck drivers are as capable of making mistakes as anyone else on the road. They might be:

Regardless, you should always be ready to respond to an unsafe semi-truck driver. Brushing up on your defensive driving skills is a great way to stay prepared.

Have You Been Involved in a Semi-Truck Accident?

If you or a loved one are injured in an auto accident involving a semi-truck, you may be entitled to compensation—and we can help.

At SiebenCarey, we’ve spent decades helping injury victims get the compensation they’re owed. Just contact us, and we’ll explain your rights to you and get to work investigating the details of your accident. Then, we’ll help you manage your case so you can relax and recover.

Click here for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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I was involved in a car accident that was complicated at best. God blessed with me Eric Beyer as my attorney. Although it was a long drawn out process between the two insurance companies, Eric was not only my attorney, he was my rock.

Eric is one of the most ethical people I have ever met in my lifetime. He was a constant source of not only information, but of comfort throughout the whole process. I never doubted for one moment that Eric did not have my best interest at heart. He took every word I said seriously and did what he had to do. If I ever have the misfortune of another injury like this, I would go to no one other than Eric Beyer. I will never in my lifetime be able to thank Eric enough or let him know how much I respect him and what a comfort he was and has continued to be for me. God Bless you Eric Beyer.

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I was seriously injured in a car accident on my wedding night and went to SiebenCarey. Being involved in an accident is never fun. The folks at SiebenCarey got us thru the event helping us get on with our lives. They were up front and honest. We knew we could trust them. It’s clear to me why Art has been recognized as a Best Lawyer in America and Super Lawyer for 12 years running. Now anytime I know someone who was involved in an accident I refer them to SiebenCarey.

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Eric W. Beyer helped me through a very difficult time and his professionalism, advice and results from an injury were highly respected. Amidst the personal part of getting myself back to health, his guidance when life was blurry was so appreciated. He listened and then put forth my options honestly and directly which I totally appreciated!

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In need of a personal injury attorney? Well you're if you're reading this you're in the right place. You'd be hard pressed to find more competent attorneys than the ones here at SiebenCarey.

They took my case to trial and an amazing job presenting the facts and fighting for my best interests! Three years ago I was unsure of what my future would bring; now that it's over I can rest a bit easier. With SiebenCarey as my counsel, I believe I had the absolute BEST representation a person could've asked for. I knew that I wanted the absolute best representation when searching for an attorney to handle my case and I most definitely received it.

If you need a personal injury attorney, look no further. Can't recommend highly enough.

Chris and Amy Boys

We worked with Art and his team on a personal injury case. We could not have been more pleased with the result. Art and his team were both professional and personable, and were a pleasure to work with. I would highly recommend Art and his team if you find yourself in this type of situation.

Laurian Reiners

Mark Olive did an absolutely fantastic job helping Jim during his ordeal with the company he worked for.  The outcome made it so that Jim could retire after the settlement.  We could not asked for a better representative for him.

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I have been working with Jeff Sieben since the year 2003 and I find he does excellent work.

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Art and his staff were fantastic. After being involved in a car accident they made the process so easy and effortless. The end result exceeded anything I ever expected. The right lawyer really makes a difference and Art and his staff were definitely the right choice. I would highly recommend giving them a call if you are unfortunate to get in an accident.

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We were VERY pleased with Jeff's attention to us and our case.  Jeff, and all of the team there, did an outstanding job of making that process as stress-free as possible for us.  The communications were never delayed; response time (no matter how often we had questions) was beyond expectations. We truly liked Jeff's up-front and true-life demeanor, nothing was sugar-coated nor was anything spoken or written in terms we didn't understand which meant we were all talking on the same levels and never felt uneducated in the attorney world we were dealing with. I would certainly refer anyone I know to you all!

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I cannot express how happy my family is with Mr. Beyer!  He has impressed us in too many ways to count!  As educated people, we attempted to accomplish litigation on our own...BIG mistake!  Mr. Beyer and his staff are amazing!  Litigation is their wheelhouse.  If you are wondering if you should hire them; the answer is yes.

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