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Protect yourself when sharing the road with large trucks

When large trucks, like semitrailers, collide with passenger vehicles, it is most often the occupants of the passenger vehicle who are seriously injured. This is because large trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles do, and large trucks often have a high ground clearance, which can allow smaller vehicles to slide underneath.

Because collisions involving semitrailers are often more catastrophic than other types of collisions, truck drivers must follow special rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other entities. These rules are in place to protect others who share the road. However, crashes still occur.

What causes crashes between large trucks and passenger vehicles?

Collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles are often caused when truck drivers or trucking companies break the rules that are intended to prevent accidents. This may include a trucker driving more hours than he should without rest, vehicle maintenance being neglected, a load being secured improperly and others.

Many collisions are caused by reckless actions of truck drivers or trucking companies. However, some crashes are caused by other drivers who may not understand how to drive safely around large trucks.

Safe habits for sharing the road with large trucks

To help prevent being involved in a crash with a large truck, consider utilizing as many safe driving habits as possible. Some tips for driving safely around large trucks, include:

  • Stay out of the blind spots. Large trucks have blind spots on all four sides of the truck, so it is safe to assume that if you cannot see a driver’s face in a window or a mirror, the driver cannot see you.
  • Never cut off a large truck. Merging too closely in front of a truck could put you in a blind spot. Large trucks require much more space to come to a stop than a passenger vehicle requires, so even if the driver can see you, he or she may not be able to stop quick enough to avoid a crash.
  • Avoid tailgating a large truck. It is important to stay far enough back from a large truck that you are not in the rear blind spot. This will also help prevent cargo falling onto your vehicle from the truck or your vehicle underriding the truck.
  • Never pass on the right side of a truck. If you must pass, pass on the left side without lingering in any blind spot.
  • Anticipate wide turns. Trucks must swing wide to safely complete a turn, and cars that try to squeeze between the truck and the curb can get crushed.

Because collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles can be especially dangerous, it is important to practice safe driving habits to protect yourself on the road. If you have been injured in a crash involving a large truck, it may be appropriate to seek justice. Through legal action, you may be able to receive compensation for medical expenses and other costs associated with your injury.

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