It’s estimated that there are over 15.5 million commercial trucks in operation on American roads and 2 million of those are tractor trailers. The 3.5 million truck drivers nationwide work around the clock and often put their own lives at risk to deliver 80% of the commodities Americans use. They often work up to or even beyond 70 hours within an 8-day schedule which is almost 30 hours over the average American’s work hours. And truck drivers communally log over 430 billion miles annually. Accidents between motorists and commercial trucks can be disastrous, especially considering a tractor-trailer can weigh up to 30 times that of a passenger car. Approximately 5,000 fatalities occur annually from large truck accidents and many of these are due to the reckless behaviors of the passenger car drivers. Fortunately, there are some simple tips to help drive safely around semi-trucks.
Remember Size Matters
The average tractor-trailer can measure 80-feet long including the cab. In comparison, the average family car is around 15-feet long from bumper-to-bumper. A semi can weigh 16+ times that of a passenger car and the engine alone can be 6 times larger in both size and weight. So stay in your own lane and don’t try to bully the big guy unless you want to be crushed.
Give Lots of Extra Room
Unlike passenger cars that can whip around curves or stop on a dime in many cases, it’s nowhere near that easy for a vehicle weighing up to 10 or 20-times more. A loaded semi-truck may need 40% more time to stop than a passenger vehicle. And the average turning distance is 55-feet. Remember and adjust to that instead of putting yourself and your loved ones in harm’s way by following too closely.
Always Pass with Care
Driving a semi is very different from operating a car, so movements can be slow and sluggish at times. That can lead to some rash decisions that often result in accidents between motorists and commercial trucks. Semi-trucks also don’t have a rearview mirror because they can’t see out past the trailer anyway. Use extreme caution when trying to pass a large truck. Avoid crossing the double yellow line to pass a semi-truck and never attempt to cut one off once you’ve passed.
Avoid the Truck’s Blind Spot
When it comes to passing a large truck of any kind, one universal rule applies: If you can’t see the driver in their side mirror, the driver can’t see you. There are many more blind spots on large trucks and the largest ones only have two side mirrors to see other vehicles. If you have to pass a large truck, avoid passing on the right side and watch for their face in the side mirror to ensure they do, in fact, know you’re there.
A Little Common Sense Goes a Long Way
Every driver on the road is required and expected to follow and adhere to the same driving rules. Unfortunately, knowing that and doing it are two totally separate things for some people. However, avoiding common sense is a great way to wind up hurt or needing to contact a competent Michigan truck accident lawyer. To avoid being at fault and potentially harming yourself or others in the process, check your mirrors, be respectful on the road, remain alert at all times, turn off those cell phones, and avoid as many common distractions as possible while sharing the road with semi-trucks.