According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are approximately 12.5 million large trucks on the road in the United States. While these vehicles play a vital role in our economy, they can also be dangerous when not operated safely.
In order to reduce the risk of truck accidents, it is important for both drivers of small passenger vehicles and large commercial trucks to understand how to share the road.
Here are a few tips for New Jersey drivers on how to stay safe around big rigs.
1. Give Trucks Plenty of Space
When passing a large truck, remember that they have blind spots on both sides as well as in front of and behind the vehicle. Make sure you can see the driver in their side mirror before attempting to pass, and never cut off a truck.
Most auto insurance companies recommend that you leave at least four seconds of space between your car and the truck in front of you. This may seem like a lot, but it allows the truck to brake more slowly in the event of an emergency.
2. Use Extra Caution at Night and in Poor Weather Conditions
When driving at night or in poor weather conditions, it is important to use extra caution around large trucks. These vehicles can be difficult to see, especially if they are traveling in the same direction as your car.
If you cannot see the truck driver’s face in their mirror, it is best to slow down and wait until the truck has passed before resuming your normal speed. It is also important to use your headlights when driving in foggy or snowy conditions.
3. Be Aware of Road Hazards
Road hazards can be a major danger for both drivers of small cars and large trucks. When approaching a hazard, always use caution and try to move over into another lane if possible. Some common road hazards include potholes, construction zones, and debris on the road.
If you cannot safely change lanes, slow down and allow more space between your car and the truck in front of you. Remember that big rigs can take longer to stop than smaller cars, so always give them plenty of room to maneuver.
4. Do Not Tailgate
Tailgating is dangerous for all drivers, but it can be especially dangerous when done around large trucks. If a truck suddenly has to brake, your car could easily rear-end the truck and cause a serious accident. This also applies if a truck is closely following behind you the driver. Allow space and always yield if you see a large truck approaching.
Most auto insurance companies recommend that you leave at least two seconds of space between your car and the truck in front of you. This allows the truck to brake more slowly in the event of an emergency.
5. Do Not Cut Off Trucks
As mentioned before, large trucks have blind spots on both sides of the vehicle. These blind spots are also located in front of and behind the truck.
Before attempting to pass a truck, make sure you can see the driver in their side mirror. Once you have passed the truck, do not cut off the driver by quickly merging back into the lane in front of the truck. This could cause the truck to swerve into oncoming traffic or into another lane and cause a serious accident.
Following these tips can help you safely share the road with large trucks. Remember, it is important to be aware of the dangers posed by these vehicles and to use caution when driving near them.
If you find yourself in an accident with a large truck, Schibell Law is here for you. Our experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyers can help you to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at 732-774-1000 for a free consultation.