Larger vehicles on the road are usually commercial trucks, such as 18-wheeler trucks, mobile cranes, tractor units, log carriers, dump trucks, tank trucks, and garbage trucks. Driving around these can be dangerous, increasing the risk of accident due to large blind spots, longer time to stop, and difficulty maneuvering.
Being involved in road accidents with larger trucks results in serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries, and spinal cord injuries. According to statistic, 4,951 Americans died in large-truck accidents in 2018, which is a 46% increase in the number of deaths in 2009 (3,380 deaths), and the majority of deaths were occupants of other vehicles.
If you want to prevent being a victim of a large vehicle accident, check out these important safety tips:
1. Avoid Blind Spots
Blind spots refer to unseen angles when driving on the road because not all mirrors of a vehicle can reflect everything. Large vehicles have wide blind spots, particularly at the back end, on the sides (especially the right side), and even at the front. If you can’t see the large vehicle driver’s reflection in their side mirror, you’re in the driver’s blind spot.
Check out this article to know the challenges that semitruck drivers face and safety tips before driving a haul. This way, you’ll better understand their situation and avoid blind spots when driving with this type of large vehicle.
So, how do you deal with blind spots to keep yourself safe when driving around trucks? Take a look at these tips:
- Slow Down Or Move Ahead: Slow down or move ahead of the large vehicle so the truck driver can see you approaching through the side mirrors.
- Dim Your Lights: Bright headlights can affect the large mirrors of commercial trucks, increasing the risk of accident when bright headlights are reflected. Dimming your lights avoids blinding the truck driver through the mirrors.
2. Avoid Tailgating
Driving too close to the truck behind your vehicle isn’t advisable because it could result in a rear-end accident. Based on the three-second rule of driving, drivers must leave a minimum of three seconds of space between your car and the vehicle in front. If being followed by a large vehicle, you can increase the following distance, so you can brake more gradually and safely, avoiding being run over by the truck.
So, how do you know if you’re not tailgating or too close to the vehicle in front of you? Here’s how to test using the three-second rule:
- Observe the truck in front as it passes a stationary object, like a big tree or electric pole while driving on the road.
- Start counting until you pass the same object.
- If it takes three seconds for you to pass the same object, then it means that you’re driving at a safe distance or far away from the truck.
- If it takes one or two seconds for you to pass the same object, you need to leave more room in between to avoid potential accident when the truck suddenly stops or brakes because of a crossing animal or pedestrian.
3. Beware Of Wide Turns
Large vehicles take more room as compared to passenger or private cars. Trucks need to swing left for a right turn to gain room. So, never attempt to pass a large vehicle with a signal on. Don’t drive between the curb and the truck. Ensure that your car is behind the line safely because large vehicles need the space to make turns when you’re at an intersection stop.
4. Practice Focused Driving
There are many things that could distract you from safe driving, such as using your GPS system, answering text messages or calls, adjusting the stereo settings, and eating. Regardless if you’re driving around any size of vehicle, it’s always advisable to avoid these distracting activities.
When talking with one of your passengers, avoid looking behind or at your side because even a split second of your eyes away from the road can already lead to accident. If a large truck suddenly stops, then the physical injuries can be more serious than crashing to another car.
5. Obey Traffic Rules
Wearing seatbelt, watching out for traffic signs, installing child restraints, and avoiding drunk driving are just some of the many traffic rules you have to follow.
Keep these safety driving tips in mind when driving around large vehicles. Remember that trailer trucks, tractors, tank trucks, and other large vehicles have wide blind spots, so make sure you avoid them. Practice safe driving, avoid tailgating, and beware of wide turns. Also, make sure to follow traffic laws strictly to be on the safe side.