The trucking industry is, in many ways, the beating heart of the United States as we know it. Truckers haul countless tons of freight from place to place each and every year, transporting goods of all shapes and sizes across the nation and beyond, making up a colossal industry, valued at more than $750 billion.
America simply wouldn’t be the same without its truckers, but it’s also important to acknowledge that the biggest vehicles on our roads can also present some of the biggest dangers too. Indeed, when auto accidents occur involving trucks, serious injuries and even fatalities are worryingly common, with statistics showing that thousands of people die in such accidents annually.
It’s easy to understand how and why this happens. Trucks are huge and heavy vehicles. As every trucker knows, they can be immensely difficult to maneuver, with sudden stops and sharp turns almost impossible to carry out. This means that when hazards appear, trucks can’t respond to them as quickly as other vehicles, and they also have big blind spots to take into account too.
It’s up to everyone, therefore, including both truckers themselves and other road users around them, to do whatever they can to try and reduce the risks of these accidents occurring. Whether you’re trying to overtake a truck on the highway or just trying to stay out of its way, here are some tips to keep in mind that should help you and those around you stay safe.
Keep Your Distance
One of the golden rules when it comes to reducing the risks of truck accidents is making sure to keep your distance from trucks at all times. This is especially important when driving behind a truck, as it can be impossible for truckers to see vehicles directly behind them.
Many types of truck accidents are caused by other road users getting too close to trucks. In order to avoid having the same thing happen to you, make sure to remain far away from them.
Avoid Passing on the Right
It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to overtake a truck, a motorcycle, an SUV, or anything else, you should never be passing on the right under any circumstance. However, when it comes to trucks, this tip is even more important.
Trucks tend to have even more blind spots on their right sides than their left, so anyone trying to pass on the right could be virtually invisible to the truck driver, making the chances of an accident far higher.
Be Careful Where You Park
Even when your vehicle is parked, turned off, and empty, it can still be at risk of damage from trucks. This is because many people make the mistake of parking right behind trucks and then walking away from the vehicles.
When the trucker then goes to pull away, they might look in their mirror and not even see your vehicle sitting behind them, due to the blind spots, so they could reverse right into you.
Learn the Blind Spots and Avoid Them
Time and again in the points above, we’ve mentioned how trucks have so many dangerous blind spots, and this really is a serious issue that other road users need to accept and understand; truckers can’t see 360 degrees around themselves – it’s just not possible.
This means that even when making sensible use of their mirrors, they won’t always be able to see vehicles that are beside or behind them. It’s partly your responsibility, therefore, to be aware of a truck’s blind spots and stay out of them as much as you can.
Distracted driving causes thousands of deaths and injuries each and every year, and the worst part of all is that so many of those incidents could have been avoided if people showed a little more care and consideration.
Too many people think that there’s no real danger in using their phones or playing around with their in-car entertainment systems while driving, but the truth of the matter is that even the slightest lapse in concentration can cause crashes, especially when trucks are around.
Avoid Sudden Stops
This is another universal tip that applies in any situation, regardless of the kind of vehicle you’re driving and where you happen to be on the road. Aside from emergency situations where someone suddenly steps out in front of your vehicle, it’s never a wise idea to brake very harshly and suddenly.
If you do this in front of a truck, it’s highly likely that the trucker won’t be able to slow down in time to avoid making contact with your car, due to the vast weight and size of their vehicle.
Always Use Signals and Mirrors
One simple way to avoid getting into accidents with trucks is quite simple to make sure that you drive safely and sensibly, everywhere you go. A big part of this is always making sure to use your mirrors and signals when changing lanes, making turns, and so on.
Too many drivers fail to follow these fundamentals, but they really are essential in order to protect yourself and other road users. Your mirrors and signals help you and others make the right decisions on the road, so never underestimate their importance.
Overall, when it comes to trying to minimize the chances of a trucking accident occurring, the general key is to drive safely, to make your vehicle as visible as possible for truckers and others, and to stay focused and aware of your surroundings.
The tips above can help you improve your driving and take the right actions to prevent dangerous situations from presenting themselves, as well as simply making you a safer driver for other road users too.
As more and more road users begin to follow such tips and take truck risks and blind spots into account, we can hopefully begin to see the numbers of serious trucking accidents start to decrease and the roads become safer as the years go by.