Safely Sharing the Highway with Semi-Trucks
As the demand for consumer goods continues to expand, we share our roadways with evermore semi-trucks. Due to their massive size and weight, these truck perform differently than our much smaller vehicles do. Big rigs accidents are exceedingly dangerous, and knowing how to share the road with them will help keep you and your family safer. Semi-truck accidents are among the most terrifying accidents on our roadways; if you have been injured in such an accident, contact an experienced Central Texas personal injury lawyer today.
Semis Require Increased Stopping Distances
Tractor trailers – because of their size – need a much greater distance to slow down and come to a complete stop than our personal vehicles do. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shares that a fully loaded truck traveling at highway speeds on roads that are in good condition needs a distance that is nearly equal to the combined length of two football fields to come to a complete stop. This stopping distance is even longer if road conditions are bad, if the truck is overweight, and/or if the trucker is speeding. When you are driving with semi-trucks in your midst, keep these increased stopping distances in mind and never cut sharply in front of a commercial truck.
Semis Require More Space to Maneuver
In addition to increased stopping distances, semis require additional room to maneuver in general. A semi-truck needs additional room to change lanes and requires a wide berth to make turns. Pay attention to what the semis near you on the road are doing, and allow them the space they need to maneuver safely. When you are driving near a semi, proceed with caution and yield to the semi if necessary – trying to outmaneuver a tractor trailer by racing past it is dangerous.
Truck Drivers Experience Extensive Blind Spots
Even though they sit high above the road in their cabs, truck drivers experience wide swaths of blind spots. These blind spots are known as “no zones” (because you should not drive within them) and they are located on all four sides of the rig:
Directly in front of the cab
Directly in back of the truck
On both sides of the truck’s trailer (the right no-zone is significantly larger than the left no-zone)
Be aware of semi-trucks’ no zones, and spend as little time driving in them as you possibly can. Only pass a semi-truck when you can do so swiftly without having to linger at the truck’s side and do not pull back in front of the truck until you can see it in its entirety in your rearview mirror.