DEFENSIVE DRIVING ON THE HIGHWAY
For the past 29 years, I have represented many people who have been seriously hurt in highway accidents. Many of them were involved in accidents with big rig trucks. It is imperative to be a defensive driver whenever you are driving on the highway. I urge you to remember safety rules of the road so that you can share the road with these large trucks and reduce the risk of life altering accidents. I recommend the following measures to reduce your risk of a crash whenever you share the road with large trucks.
Overtaking big rigs
As you know, these trucks are long and relatively slow. Thus, you need more time to overtake them. Delayed overtaking increases your risk of an accident in multiple ways. For example:
- You spend more time on the left lane and increase the risk of an accident with an oncoming car
- You spend more time near the truck and risk a sideswipe accident
- You risk an accident in case the truck’s tire blows out
You need to commit. Once you ensure the road ahead is clear from oncoming traffic, overtake the truck as reasonably fast and safely as possible. The longer you are in the oncoming lane, the greater the risk of an accident.
Recognize Blind Spots
A blind spot is an area around the vehicle that the driver cannot see directly or by use of mirrors. Most vehicles have multiple blind spots, but big vehicles have larger blind spots than their smaller counterparts. Each truck has a blind spot:
- On both sides of the truck, near the side mirrors
- Directly in front of the truck
- Directly behind the truck
A large truck’s blind spot can hide a whole car resulting in the truck driver not knowing you are there. Thus, the diver can change lanes, stop, accelerate, or turn without considering your presence. The only way to avoid accidents that such maneuvers can cause is to avoid the blind spots whenever possible. If you have to drive within the blind spot, do not linger in it.
Maintain Adequate Space Between Vehicles
The size, weight, and speed of large trucks mean that they require more time and space to stop, accelerate, or change directions. As such, you should always leave adequate space between you and other trucks on the road. For example, you must ensure that:
- You don’t follow the truck too closely since
- You don’t cut in front of the truck
- You leave an adequate room as you merge
- You don’t get between a truck and the curb during turns
Otherwise, the truck driver might not have time and space to avoid an accident, even if they can see you.
Dim Your Headlights
You should dim your lights when you approach a truck on the road for two main reasons. First, the lights might reflect off the truck’s mirrors and blind you. Secondly, the lights might blind the truck driver. Thus, you should dim the lights whether you approach the truck from the front or the rear.
As previously mentioned, large trucks require more time and distance for road maneuvers. Signal truck drivers earlier than you would other vehicles on the road. For example, if you want to change lanes and move in front of a truck, signal the truck driver early so that they don’t accelerate. Otherwise, the truck might accelerate, and once they do so, they might not brake in time to avoid a rear-end accident.
Give Them Right of Way
Traffic rules determine who has the right of way at any time. However, you should always err on the side of caution and give trucks the right of way whenever you are in doubt. Say you are both approaching a junction, and you are able to, let the truck go first. Give the truck right of way since they don’t handle as easily as your small car.
A collision with a large truck can ruin your life forever. If you or a family member are faced with being a victim of a big rig accident, hire an experienced auto accident lawyer to help you recover your damages and lessen your financial woes. Contact me and let my 29 years of experience helping auto accident victims work for you.
Herb Santos, Jr., Esq.
Herb is a NJA Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist. He is recognized by the National Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group as one of America’s leading attorneys representing injured workers. Herb was also selected as the 2018 Trial Lawyer of the Year in Nevada.