Does it make you nervous to share the road with a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle? If driving beside a large truck makes you nervous, you are not alone. Many people view large trucks as a danger on the road, and they have very good reasons for their beliefs.
According to the NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Factors for large trucks (revised May 2018), eighty-three percent of the fatalities in large truck crashes were people other than the occupants of the large truck. In addition, fatalities in large truck crashes increased by five percent from 2015 to 2016. It is estimated that 116,000 people were injured in large truck accidents during 2015, an increase of 5,000 from 2014.
Indiana lost 107 people in 126 large truck accidents during 2016. In addition to fatal truck accidents, there were approximately 2,182 truck crashes that caused non-fatal injuries during 2016.
When a vehicle weighing up to 80,000 pounds crashes into a passenger vehicle that weighs an average of 3,000 to 6,000 pounds, the force of the impact does far more damage to the passenger vehicle. Therefore, the risk of injury to the occupants in the passenger vehicle increases.
We Need Commercial Trucks!
Even though sharing the road with commercial trucks may be dangerous, our country depends on the services provided by commercial trucking companies. Large trucks are one of the most efficient and economical ways to transport goods from one end of the country to the other end. Commercial trucks make it possible for manufacturers and producers to offer goods at lower prices for consumers.
However, even though we may need commercial trucks, that fact does not decrease the risk of severe injury and death caused because of large truck accidents.
Ways to Decrease the Risk of an Accident with a Semi-Truck
You cannot control road conditions or the actions of others on the road. However, you can take a few steps that could reduce your risk of being involved in a semi-truck accident.
Stay Out of a Large Truck’s No Zones
Large vehicles have large blind spots around the entire vehicle. Driving in a “no zone” can increase your risk of being involved in a commercial truck accident. Try to avoid driving in the truck’s blind spots so that the truck driver can see your vehicle.
Allow More Distance Between Your Vehicle and a Large Truck
Large trucks take a lot of room to maneuver. Turning, passing, and stopping are much more complicated maneuvers in a semi-truck. Therefore, when you are following a truck, stay back far enough so that you can clearly see the driver’s side mirrors. In addition, when you pass a commercial vehicle, allow more room before you re-enter the lane because trucks cannot stop quickly.
Never Pass a Semi-Truck on the Right Side
Trucks must have an extremely wide radius for right turns. If you attempt to pass a truck on the right to “beat” the truck, you may find yourself in an extremely dangerous place. Serious truck accidents occur when the truck driver does not see vehicles on the right side and run over the vehicle while turning.