The bottom line is that there is expected to be an increase in the number of semi-trucks with whom other drivers will be sharing the road over the next decade. In light of this reality, it is prudent to learn the best and safest way to do so…
1. Be aware that the semi-truck driver must be able to see you in order to avoid a collision with you! Semi-trucks are no different than other vehicles – they come with blind spots. Now semi-trucks try to compensate for this with the addition of mirrors placed strategically around the cab and trailer. But YOU should operate from the notion that – if you cannot see the driver in a mirror – then he cannot see you.
2. Do not tailgate a semi-truck. Sudden stops do not allow you enough time to avoid a collision – in some cases even under riding the carriage of the tractor-trailer and sheering off the top of your vehicle.
3. Do not linger beside a semi-truck in the passing lane. Better to let them pass you or slow down a bit to ensure a fair amount of room between your vehicles.
4. Use your headlights to signal to a passing truck that he (or she) has enough room between you and him to move safely back into the lane in front of you. He will do the same for you.
5. Semi-trucks need extra turning room – so be sure to give them the room and time it takes to turn corners.
When a tractor-trailer comes into contact with a passenger car, the likelihood of the occupants of the car being injured is pretty high. When 80,000 pounds hits 5000 pounds–the smaller vehicle gets crushed, it’s a simple matter of physics.
Staying safe on the highways means being aware of what is around you and acutely aware of big trucks. Big rig drivers have very good vision in front of them due to the height of the vehicle but have very poor visibility for blind spots on the side and rear.
Greg Baumgartner is a Houston truck wreck lawyer and the founder of the Baumgartner Law Firm.