One of the most frightening experiences shared by new drivers is their first time passing a big truck. While driving near these massive vehicles shouldn’t be taken lightly, it may help to go over some simple rules about driving around trucks.
Driving near trucks doesn’t have to be dangerous. There are lots of precautions that you can take to make sure that you’re giving the truck driver as much space, patience, and signaling as they need. If you or your teen has the misfortune of being involved in a truck accident, however, you can reach out to a Houston truck accident attorney at Lapeze & Johns for help.
Wear Your Seatbelt
Of course, the easiest and first step to driving safely at any age is wearing your seatbelt. The driver and any passengers should be sure to buckle up before heading out on the road. This is especially true in accidents involving trucks which can be especially deadly and dangerous due to their sheer size and weight.
Avoid Blind Spots
One of the most important things to keep in mind when driving near trucks is the trucker’s blind spots. Trucks have blind spots many times larger than those common to cars and other vehicles, and these blind spots can be found on all four sides of the truck.
A general rule is that if you can’t see the trucker in any of the truck mirrors, then they probably can’t see you behind them. That makes it important to maintain a 6 second following distance behind any trucks on the road. If you’re in front of a truck and can’t see the truck windshield, chances are high that the trucker can’t see you either.
Take Care When Passing
It’s important to take serious care when passing trucks on the road. You can share these simple steps with your teen to help them stay safe when passing trucks:
- Make sure you’re visible to the truck driver, usually by checking that you can see the trucker in the truck mirrors.
- Use your turn signal with plenty of warning.
- When it is safe and clear, move into the left lane.
- Don’t linger when passing the truck.
- Before changing back into the lane, make sure the truck is fully visible in your rear-view mirror, at least a few cars’ length behind you.
- Use your signal with plenty of warning before moving back into the right lane.
- Always give trucks extra room before changing lanes or merging.
- Don’t pass trucks on hills where they are likely to gain speed.
- Slow down and stay to the right when being passed by a truck.
Don’t Tailgate or Cut Things Close
It’s especially important not to cut off or tailgate big trucks. First of all, these vehicles have huge blind spots, and they aren’t likely to see you if you cut too close to them. Second, trucks are big and incredibly heavy, making them difficult to maneuver or stop suddenly.
The heavier a vehicle is, the longer it takes them to come to a halt, and if you’re tailgating a truck and an accident occurs, you could end up sliding beneath the trailer.
Watch for Wide Turns
Those ‘Wide Turns’ signs you see on the back of semi-trucks are there for a reason. Trucks tend to swing wide and may need to initiate turns from a middle lane. This means that it’s important not to try to squeeze past trucks as they won’t be able to see you and may be in the process of turning in the same direction. In fact, it’s always a good idea to give trucks plenty of space at intersections.
By now, it should be clear that driving a truck is no easy task, and there are lots of factors that make trucks less maneuverable on the road. Trucks need more time to stop, accelerate, and turn, and giving them that time will help everyone stay safe. Honking or driving aggressively won’t help and could lead to dangerous driving situations. Getting angry and impatient only increases the likelihood of a crash.
Focus on the Road
It’s always important to keep your attention focused on the road while you’re driving. Accidents can seem to happen in a split second, so looking away from the road can open you up to a crash you could have avoided. It’s especially true to be aware when driving near trucks as your vehicle may not be visible and truckers have less immediate control over their vehicles.
This rule also applies to driving while tired. Driving while you’re sleepy or falling asleep can lead to devastating accidents. Losing focus and control of your car for even a moment can cause a crash, so it’s best not to take the risk.
Driving Under the Influence
It’s incredibly important not to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drugs and alcohol can affect your reaction time as well as your perception. There is no safe amount of alcohol or drugs that can be consumed before driving. This is also true of medications that may cause drivers to experience dizziness or drowsiness while out on the road.
Seek Legal Assistance if You’re Involved in a Truck Accident
If your teen has been involved in a truck accident, you don’t have to pick up the pieces alone. The Houston truck accident attorneys of Lapeze & Johns would be proud to help you seek compensation through insurance negotiations or legal action. We can help you navigate the stressful aftermath of an accident so that you can focus on healing.
If your teen was involved in a truck accident, contact the Houston truck accident attorneys of Lapeze & Johns today.