Truck accidents are dangerous because the enormous size of semi-trucks can cause serious damage to smaller cars on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 71% of people killed in truck accidents were drivers from other cars, not the truck driver. In high traffic states such as New Mexico, truck accidents are 4x more likely to end in death than standard car accidents. In other words, the average American has a higher likelihood of being involved in a fatal or extremely serious collision with semi-trucks. Smaller drivers must learn how to share the road with commercial truck drivers. We have some tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe on the road.
What is a Semi-truck?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, if one or more of the following criteria is met, then the motor vehicle is considered a semi-truck:
- If the motor vehicle weighs more than 10,000 lbs
- If the motor vehicle can have up to 16 or more passengers
- If the motor vehicle can have up to 9 paying passenger
- If the motor vehicle is used for business or transporting dangerous materials
How To Share The Road with Commercial Vehicles
- Know where the “No Zone” is on the truck.
The most common misconception about semi-trucks would be that they can see better than standard car drivers due to their large size. Although they have bigger mirrors and can see farther in their forward view, semi-trucks have massive blind spots. In particular, there are huge blind spots called the “no zone”. According to the DMV, these blind spots are located behind the truck, right in front of the truck, and on either side of the truck. If you are in one of the “no zones”, the semi-truck driver cannot make any safe maneuvers in dangerous situations without you, as the smaller car driver getting hurt in the process.
- Braking on semi-trucks takes more time than a standard car.
In comparison to standard vehicles, the brakes on semi-trucks can take twice as long to slow down or to completely stop the vehicle. Never cut off or merge right in front of a semi-truck, especially when the truck is braking. The driver might not have enough time to brake completely or slow down before colliding into your car.
- Semi-trucks are not able to move as quickly as standard cars.
Do not tailgate semi-truck drivers. Always make sure there is enough cushion room between you and the semi-truck. If you want to pass a commercial truck, do it as quickly as possible. If you pass the truck slowly, you could be in the “no zone” for too long which can be a dangerous situation.
- Semi-trucks must make wider turns than standard vehicles.
The longer the commercial vehicle is, the wider of a turn it must make. If you are behind a semi-truck, make sure to look at their turn signal lights. Truck drivers may seem like they are turning left but will have their right turn signal on, indicating they are making a wide right turn. Always give truck drivers a lot of cushion room so they can make their turns safely.
As smaller cars, we must share the road with semi-truck drivers. It is important that you keep these tips in mind when driving on the road with commercial vehicles. These tips can help keep you and your loved ones safe on the road.