Let’s face it. Driving can cause some serious anxiety and nervousness, and it doesn’t help when there’s a large truck on the road beside you. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines a large truck as “a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds.” There is a reason to be nervous when driving around these large trucks.
- In 2015 alone, there were 3,598 fatal crashes involving large trucks, with a total of 4,067 total fatalities in large truck crashes.
- In Texas (during the same year), there were 474 fatal crashes involving large trucks. With a population of over 27 million people, that’s almost 18 fatal crashes per million people!
- The fatality rates continue to rise according to the data. The number of fatalities increased by 35% since 2010.
Despite the risk of serious injuries with 18 Wheelers on our roadways, not much can be done about these large trucks driving on highways or other local roads. However, there are things you can do as a motorist to avoid the chances of being involved in an 18 Wheeler accident. One way to avoid collisions with 18 Wheelers is to avoid driving in their blind spots.
Where are Blind Spots for 18 Wheelers?
- Up to 20 feet in front of the tractor trailer;
- The length of the left side of the 18 Wheeler, extending across the immediate left lane;
- The length of the right side of the 18 Wheeler, extending across the two immediate right lanes; and,
- Extending 30 feet in the back.
Tips to stay safe when driving around 18 Wheelers
Here are our top 5 tips to stay safe when driving around 18 Wheelers, with some help from the FMCSA:
Following too closely behind an 18-wheeler can not only be dangerous, but deadly as well. If a truck stops abruptly, and you are too close behind, it can end in a fatal crash or leave you with serious injuries.
Drive Defensively, Not Aggressively
It is safe to drive defensively, meaning you prepare yourself with the skills that will allow you to prevent and avoid collisions caused by weather condition, bad drivers, and drivers under the influence on the road.
This includes preparing and planning your route (so you don’t have to rush, and therefore will not speed), remaining alert, and respecting other users on the road (including motorcyclists and bicyclists).
Never pass on the right lane when trying to pass a truck. Always make sure you can fully see the truck in your mirrors; if not, wait. Be sure to turn on your turning signal before passing in the left lane. Do not linger in the blind spot of a truck driver.
Remember that driving a truck is much different than driving a car. It takes trucks longer to turn and pass lanes.
Driving aggressively, honking, and being an unpredictable driver can increase the chances of a crash.
Stay focused: avoid distracted driving.
Staying focused not only means keeping your eyes on the road, but being alert as well. If you’re drowsy, the best thing to do is not get in the car right away, or if you are already in the car, pull over and wake yourself up.
Distracted driving includes talking or texting on your cell phone, talking to other people in your car, and eating and drinking.
What to Do If You’re in An Accident
Call the police and report the accident. Make sure to seek medical care immediately, even if injuries are not apparent to you immediately after the collision. Sometimes it takes days for symptoms to show up. Contact our experienced attorneys that has successfully handled 18-Wheeler accidents in the past. Don’t wait to contact us! Call us at (512) 371-6101, or reach out to us online for a free initial consultation.