Over 130,000 people are injured in truck accidents every year. Of this number, there are about 4,000 fatalities, making it one of the most fatal accidents on the road. Given the statistics, drivers are right to be wary of trucks and truck drivers on the road. Unlike in case of a car accident, truck accidents are often complex to solve. This is largely due to the possibility of shared fault among different parties.
Road users can prevent truck accidents by staying alert on the road and taking precautions. This article goes over some tips to help you drive safely when sharing the road with large trucks.
Always Drive Defensively
There are two types of driving, offensive and defensive. Defensive driving is the safest type of driving as it assumes other road users are unsafe and prioritizes safety at all times.
It is important to drive defensively when sharing the road with trucks and other large vehicles. Drivers should also be vigilant, paying attention to any changes, from the traffic lights to the truck’s speed, signals, and others.
Being prepared for anything when sharing the road with a truck can also help you make instant decisions that can make all the difference.
Avoid Lingering in Blind Spots
One of the biggest causes of truck accidents is blind spots. Given the length and size, truck drivers may be unable to see some areas around their vehicle – a setback that could be dangerous for smaller cars.
As a driver sharing the road with a truck, it is important to understand the potential blind spots and avowing lingering in those spots.
Expert Tip: The truck’s right side is often the biggest blind spot for truck drivers. It is important to avoid staying in this spot for too long, whether you are sharing a lane or attempting an overtake.
Keep a Safe Distance
The normal driving rule prescribes that drivers give themselves reasonable space. However, you should exercise extra caution when it comes to driving behind a truck. Understand that anything can happen and the space between you and the truck could be your saving grace.
Always strive to avoid tailgating the truck, as this could lead to a rear-end collision which can be fatal to the driver and passengers.
Give More Space Between the Trailer and Curb
Maneuvering a truck can be tricky. In most cases, truck drivers maneuver to the right curb and then swerve back when making a turn. This movement could be dangerous for inexperienced drivers who may take the initial swerve at face value.
It is important to leave as much space as possible between the trailer and the curb, especially when close to junctions or bends.
Signal Your Intention to Change Lanes or Make Turns
Proper driving rules dictate that drivers signal other road users of their intention to make a turn or switch lanes. This move is a very important one, especially as it alerts the truck driver behind or beside you to your next move.
Failing to indicate can put you in crosshairs, especially if you’re turning in the truck’s direction.
Learn How to Pass a Truck
Not every driver knows how to pass a truck on the road. The technical part is understanding your vehicle, its current speed, its top speed, and the space in front. Timing your overtake can make all the difference too.
While passing a passenger car is simple, especially as you have a clear view of the road ahead, overtaking a truck is much harder. If you must, always overtake on the driver’s side as it alerts the driver to your presence.
Overtaking on the right side can be dangerous as the side is the biggest blind spot for truck drivers.
Turn Off or Dim Your Bright Lights
Truck drivers rely on their side mirrors to keep aware of their surroundings. Driving behind a truck with your lights fully shone can blind their view, making it harder for them to gauge your distance behind them.
A safe practice is to dim your lights during the dark or turn it off during the day to aid the truck driver’s vision.
Avoid Cutting a Truck Off
Some drivers are always in a hurry to get to their destination. This may mean cutting off other drivers, even with unsafe maneuvers.
It is important that drivers avoid cutting off trucks as this could cause crashes. In most cases, trucks do not respond quickly to commands which may make accidents less preventable on its part.
Avoid Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents on the road. Most drivers text or call while driving, some others may check their social media notifications or get carried away operating the radio or eating.
It is important to avoid any form of distraction when driving, especially when sharing the road with a truck.
The tips above will largely help you stay safe while protecting you on the road.