The trucking industry is absolutely essential to America’s economy, valued at more than $750 billion and responsible for hauling countless tons of freight far and wide, supporting 80% of the nation’s communities in the process. Clearly, we have a lot of reasons to be thankful for truckers and the hard work they do.
Unfortunately, while trucks and their drivers play a huge part in keeping the country running, they can also present some serious threats on the open road. Trucks, after all, are some of the biggest and heaviest vehicles out there, and when they get involved in accidents, which happen on a daily basis, the consequences can be devastating.
There are many potential reasons for these accidents. As Gorden McKernan Injury Attorneys state, “Truck accidents can be caused by improper truck maintenance, overweight or improper loading, or additional factors on the fault of truck drivers, such as falsified logbooks, driver fatigue, and truck driver deadlines.”
Then, there are all the other potential risk factors that may not be the fault of the trucker in any way, such as other road users driving in truck blind spots, breaking the speed limit, trying to overtake a truck incorrectly, or getting distracted while driving by doing something like checking their phone or adjusting the car’s entertainment system.
In short, there are lots of different risks and dangers out there that can make these kinds of accidents happen or increase the risk of them occurring, but fortunately, there are also plenty of actions you can take and changes you can make to your driving habits in order to reduce those risks and help to keep everyone safe. Here are some of the most important tips to follow.
Know the Blind Spots
One of the biggest problems with trucks is that, because they’re so big, they have a huge amount of blind spots. Truck drivers simply cannot possibly see every angle and direction around them, even when they’re doing their best, and this is how a lot of accidents can happen, as cars find their way into these blind spots and then truckers try to turn or change lanes, leading to collisions.
It’s important for both truck drivers and other vehicle drivers to be aware of these risks. Truck drivers should already be very familiar with their blind spots and will usually do what they can to keep track of other cars around them. Car drivers need to know where these blind spots are as well and do everything possible to avoid them.
Understand the Limits of Trucks
Another key aspect of trucks that every driver really needs to know is that they can be much harder to stop than smaller vehicles. Because of their immense size and weight, it takes trucks a lot longer to come to a complete stop, and it’s almost impossible to pull off a swift and sudden emergency stop in a truck without having a huge chance of causing an accident.
Drivers of other vehicles need to understand this in order to respect truck drivers and drive safely around them. This means that you should always keep your distance from trucks, especially when driving in front of them, and you should avoid braking suddenly in front of a truck too, as there may not be enough time for the driver to respond and stop in time to avoid hitting you.
Keep Distractions to a Minimum
When it comes to accidents on America’s roads in the modern era, one of the biggest hazards of all could be sitting in your pocket right at this very moment. We’re talking about smartphones. They’re some of the most useful devices ever invented, perfect for all kinds of tasks and activities, but they’re also a major threat on the road as they can distract drivers so easily.
Distracted driving accounts for thousands of deaths and injuries on an annual basis, and so many of those cases are caused by people looking at their phones, trying to eat or drink while keeping one hand on the wheel, getting into arguments with passengers, and so on. Try to keep all distractions to a minimum and keep focus levels high, especially when driving near trucks.
Be Careful When Passing or Changing Lanes
As well as avoiding distractions and being careful to keep your distance from any trucks on the road, you should also be exceptionally careful when it comes to highway driving. If you need to pass a truck, always make sure to do so on the left side. Passing on the right isn’t just illegal, it’s also very dangerous, as the blind spots are even worse on a truck’s right side than the left.
When changing lanes, too, you need to be really careful when trucks are around. It’s vital to let the truck driver know of your intentions by using signals and always check your mirrors before making any movements to ensure that the way is clear. By using signals and mirrors and driving sensibly in general, drivers can all do their part to make the roads safer for all.
Clearly, trucks represent a big risk on the roads. They’re large, heavy, and can be transporting all kinds of goods and materials. When accidents involving trucks happen, the risks of injuries and deaths tend to be higher than they would be in cases involving smaller vehicles.
It’s essential for drivers not to underestimate this fact and to always take great care when driving on roads where trucks are present. Passing a truck or driving near a truck is different from passing a car or driving near a bike, for example.
You have to remember to keep your distance at all times, paying attention to the blind spots and keeping all of the above advice in mind. With the right approach, you can not only help to keep yourself safe but also help to reduce the risks of accidents in general and improve the driving experience for all those around you.