Nothing is more dangerous than a large tractor-trailer colliding with a passenger car on the highway. As Oklahoma Department of Public Safety statistics show, between 2012 and 2016, on average, 497 drivers of large trucks were involved in fatal and injury-producing truck wrecks on our state’s roads each year.
The size and design of a tractor-trailer contributes to the severity of these wrecks. For instance, CNN Money reports that as many as 750 deaths in the U.S. each year can be attributed to underride accidents. These crashes often occur when trucks pull out in front of oncoming traffic or make wide turns into oncoming lanes of travel. The car slides underneath the trailer.
In light of these risks, we present the following tips for sharing the road as safely as possible with 18-wheelers:
1. Try to leave as much room as possible between you and the truck.
Large tractor-trailers weigh 80,000 pounds or more. Most professional truck drivers are great at handling these large machines. However, inexperienced, intoxicated or distracted drivers may put you in harm’s way. You can’t control what others do. So, it’s best to just give a large truck as much room as possible to operate. Never follow too closely.
2. Avoid the tractor-trailer’s blind spots.
Every 18-wheeler has “no zones,” or areas around the truck where the driver cannot see other traffic. In this sense, a small passenger car in a truck’s “no zone” may be basically invisible to the driver. The primary areas to avoid are directly in front of the truck’s cab and the sides. Truck drivers are supposed to understand these limitations and use caution. Still, many truck drivers merge into small cars or make other erratic decisions that could be deadly.
3. Yield when you merge.
Have you ever seen a driver try to merge onto the interstate as a semi-truck refuses to let the car in the lane? Unfortunately, it’s an all-too-common sight in Oklahoma. No matter how rude or inconsiderate it may seem for a truck driver to refuse to move over one lane or not slow down, the fact remains that your life is worth more than a few extra seconds. If possible, you should slow down, let the truck pass and merge behind the truck.
4. Never pass on the right when a truck is turning.
The passenger side of a large truck has the worst blind spot. When you pass a truck, you should always use the left lane or left side of the truck. Pass quickly but do not linger in the blind spot. The most dangerous side of a truck is on the right. When a large truck with a trailer is trying to navigate a right turn, especially at an intersection, the truck must overcompensate to make the turn. In many cases, this means that the truck driver will leave a large gap between the truck and the curb to the right. Never try to pass on the right or use this space. The truck could quickly correct its path to the right and literally drive over you.
5. Avoid aggressive or tailgating truck drivers.
Truck drivers work irregular hours. They often go without sleep for long periods, and they are away from family for weeks at a time. It can be stressful and lead to some pretty bad behavior on the road. If a truck tailgates you, drives aggressively or tries to intimidate you, then you should just pull over, slow down or get away from that driver in the safest way possible. Do not try to retaliate, tap your brakes or slam your brakes in front of a truck. Just accept that there are some very good truck drivers and some very dangerous ones. Since you don’t know which one you are dealing with, use caution when you share the road with large trucks.
Cain Law Office is Ready To Take On Your Truck Accident Case
If you or a loved one is injured in a truck accident, call Cain Law Office right away. With offices in Edmond and Oklahoma City, we are here when you need us the most. Call or contact us online to receive a free and confidential case evaluation today.