At Donaldson Law, LLC, our commercial truck accident attorneys in Denver, Colorado understand that the first line of defense in avoiding semi-truck collisions lies squarely with the truck driver and their trucking company.
Local, national, and international truck drivers must obey stringent regulations and safety standards put forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, including hours of service requirements.
Trucking companies must also do their part by maintaining their fleets for safe travel, hiring and retaining licensed and qualified truck drivers, and completing background checks along with periodic drug, alcohol, and behavioral screenings to ensure not only compliance but the safety of the general public.
Even when each of these conditions is met, we can all still do more to avoid traffic collisions involving commercial trucks.
Maintain a Safe Distance from Large Commercial Trucks
Semi-trucks are also called 18-wheelers, which is an important designation.
They have 18 wheels for a reason. If one blows out during transit, the driver may continue to operate the large vehicle safely — thanks to the other 17 wheels supporting their load.
However, if you are next to a semi-truck when a tire blows the flying pieces we all see scattered about the interstate may interfere with your ability to drive properly. Also, the loud and unexpected sound of the tire popping may scare you into swerving into other vehicles sharing the roadway.
Maintaining a safe distance will allow you to avoid the surprise blow out and the flying rubber that follows.
Pass Semi-Trucks with Care and Consideration
It is not uncommon to pass a semi-truck on the highway and it can be a little nerve wracking when doing so.
Next time you do, keep this in mind: Large commercial trucks have glaring blind spots where their trailers extend, so if you must pass, always pass on the left where the truck driver is more likely to see you.
Avoid Stopping Abruptly in Front of a Semi-Truck
Large commercial trucks are often carrying heavy loads, with semi-trucks allowed a maximum of 80,000 pounds.
That means it will take their vehicle more time to stop than it does yours. If you stop quickly, the truck driver will be forced to also, which could lead to the truck smashing into your vehicle, or their trailer tipping over, causing several accidents at once.
Always Use Your Turn Signals
While drivers should always use their turn signals, paying special attention to using them when traveling near large trucks may help avoid a collision. Since commercial trucks take longer to adjust to other motorists’ movements, signaling before turning or even changing lanes is important and gives the truck driver time to slow down or merge too.
Avoid Using Your High Beams Around Large Trucks
Whether you are traveling behind a large truck, or towards one, be sure to avoid using your high beams by returning to your normal headlights within the equivalent of one block of the truck.
When bright lights connect with a commercial truck driver’s mirror, it can temporarily blind the driver for up to two seconds. That is more than enough time to cause a serious collision.
Never Drive Distracted
When operating a motor vehicle of any kind, it is imperative that you keep your eyes on the road and off your phone, onboard electronics, passengers, or other distractions like a dropped object, or reaching for something inside your console.
Likewise, avoid becoming distracted by factors outside of the vehicle, like what is happening outside a restaurant or diverting your attention to an accident on the other side of the road.
Stay alert and fully focused on the road ahead of you and keep both hands on the wheel.
We can all do our part to stay safe on our roadways, especially when traveling alongside large commercial trucks. Unfortunately, even when you are doing all the right things, someone else may not be. If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by another’s negligence, contact our personal injury attorneys in Denver, Colorado at Donaldson Law, LLC by calling 303-458-5000 or contact us online to schedule a free confidential consultation today.