Safely Sharing the Road With Semi Trucks
Semi trucks are a common sight on our roadways. Given that trucks are at the heart of the American economy, it may be unsurprising that more than 70% of all goods in the United States are transported by truck. Semis can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is sixteen times more than an average car. Due to their weight and size, semis take significantly longer to stop and cannot quickly change directions in emergency circumstances.
Certain safety precautions, such as wearing a seatbelt, should be common sense. With such significant size discrepancies, however, passenger vehicles should take extra precautions when driving near a semi to ensure both their own safety and the semi driver’s. It is important that if you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident with a large semi truck to first contact the necessary medical attention, and then get into contact with an experienced Kansas City, MO truck accident lawyer for a free legal consultation and case evaluation.
The first thing that passenger vehicle drivers should know is that commercial trucks’ sightline are very different from the sightline on their own cars. Because of the length of the trailer, a semi driver cannot see the area directly behind the truck. Cars should avoid driving close to the back of a semi-trailer simply to stay visible to the driver. A good rule of thumb is that if you cannot see the driver’s side mirrors, the driver cannot see you.
Beware of Blind Spots
Similarly, the length of a trailer creates significant blind spots along the side of the truck. These blind spots are much larger than those of a typically passenger vehicle and can create a hazard for passing vehicles. As you pass a semi, do not sit in a blind spot. Avoid passing a truck on its right side, as the longest blind spot is located there. When you are passing a truck, look for a driver’s face in the side mirror; if you cannot see it, the driver cannot see you.
Allow Sufficient Space Before Changing Lanes in Front of a Truck
Once you have successfully passed a truck in the adjacent lane, it is crucial to allow plenty of space before moving into the same lane as the truck. Because semis can require as much as the length of a football field to stop, cars should be careful to never move in front of them suddenly.
Wait until you can see the entire front of a truck in your rearview mirror before you move back into that lane, and do not slow down. Along with the extra space required to stop, truck bumpers are not equipped to absorb the full shock of an auto collision. If a semi collides with a passenger vehicle from behind, the result can be fatal.
Watch Out for Wide Right Turns
The dynamics of a semi trailer require special care when turning. For right turns, truck drivers often need to swing out to the left to allow enough space for the entire trailer to move around a corner. Passenger vehicles should give the truck a wide berth and avoid getting between the trailer and the curb. Do not attempt to pass a truck as it makes a turn.
Do Not Drive Distracted
Distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic accidents, and it is getting worse every year. More and more drivers are guilty of looking at their cell phones while driving. The consequences can be deadly, especially when driving near semis that cannot react quickly. If you change lanes without looking or suddenly brake in front of them, drivers may be at the mercy of their vehicles. Pay extra attention when passing a truck to avoid a potentially fatal accident
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with a semi, get the support of an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney. Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger is one of the most experienced and successful law firms in Kansas City and the entire state of Missouri, and we offer free consultations. We are available 24/7 at (816) 832-4688. Contact us today to discuss your truck accident case.