Semi-Trucks and Tractor Trailers Safety Considerations
Semi-trucks and tractor trailer accidents can be life- threatening ” or even deadly, because of the heavy and dangerous loads they carry.
Some of the special risks that motorists encounter when driving near large trucks include:
Driving in the areas behind and beside a commercial truck where the truck driver has limited or zero visibility, otherwise known as the No-Zones.
Changing lanes abruptly in front of a truck.
Passing on the right of a truck that is making a right turn.
Misjudging an approaching trucks speed at an intersection, and making a left turn in front of the truck.
Merging into traffic too quickly and forcing a truck driver to try to brake quickly or swerve out of the way.
Passing with insufficient headway or failing to slow down or speed up to allow enough space.
Under-estimating the force of air turbulence or crosswind.
Driving between tractor-trailer trucks.
Failing to get a disabled vehicle completely off the highway and onto the shoulder or abandoning a vehicle in a travel lane.
Of all motor vehicles, motorcycles are the most vulnerable on the road, because they provide cyclists with virtually no protection in a crash. When riding near large trucks, motorcyclists not only should avoid the dangers mentioned above, but also take the following safety measures:
Get trained and licensed.
Wear U.S. Department of Transportation approved protective gear all the time.
Don’t exceed your riding skills.
Be a lifelong learner by taking refresher rider courses.
Inspect your motorcycle before each ride.
Drive more slowly, especially in bad weather or at night.
On the highway, all motorists need to use extra care when changing lanes, merging, and maintaining adequate distance from semi-trucks and tractor-trailers. Here are some more important steps that you can take on the road to ensure your safety:
About 35 percent of all fatal accidents with large trucks occur in a blind spot when cars and motorcycles temporarily disappear from the truck drivers view. Stay visible; don’t linger near large trucks. Instead, either move past or slow down to back off and get out of the trucks blind spot.
Keep your distance. Stay 20 car lengths behind a truck, so you have time to react to any changes in the road ahead, including debris or accidents. Keep the trucks mirrors in your sight at all times.
Never cut in front of a truck. Fully loaded trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds and take the length of a football field to stop. Be sure to leave ample distance before pulling in front of a truck.
Change lanes only when you can see both of the trucks headlights in your rearview mirror.
At intersections, trucks often make wide turns and may use additional lanes, so give a turning truck plenty of space to maneuver.