Sharing the road with large trucks can be a frightening experience. Unfortunately, this fear is not unfounded, since these behemoths of the road can outweigh smaller passenger vehicles by 30 times. Additionally, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety noted that when fatal truck accidents occurred, it is the occupants of the smaller vehicle that are killed 97 percent of the time.
Although the statistics seem grim, motorists are not helpless on the road. According to experts, taking the proper safety precautions can help motorists minimize the risk of being involved in a truck accident.
Give more room
When following trucks, experts advise motorists to allow for at least a two-second interval between their cars and the truck ahead of them. Aside from being blinded to upcoming hazards, motorists that follow semi-trucks too closely run the risk of being involved in a rear-end collision.
Since trucks need up to twice the distance to come to a stop, experts also advise motorists to exercise caution when passing a truck. A good rule of thumb is for drivers to avoid pulling in front of a truck until the driver can see the entire truck in the rearview mirror. This allows the truck to have plenty of space to come to a stop (and avoid rear-ending the car in front of it in the process).
Avoid blind spots
Due to their large size, trucks have considerable blind spots in the front, rear and side areas. Giving the truck more room (as discussed earlier) can help keep the vehicle out of the front and rear blind spots. To stay out of the truck's side blind spots, experts recommend motorists to check the truck's side mirrors to see if the driver's face is reflected in it. If the driver is not visible in the mirror, the motorist is in a blind spot. Also, extra care should be exercised on the truck's passenger side, as the blind spot is significantly larger than the driver side.
Watch out for the unexpected
Because of their size and design, trucks must maneuver differently than passenger vehicles. Motorists should especially be careful of passing trucks on the right side in intersections, as trucks often need a wide berth when executing a right turn. Additionally, motorists should be aware that the law requires many trucks to come to a complete stop before crossing railroad tracks. Most motorists can avoid being surprised by a truck's unexpected maneuvers if they give them additional space and do not attempt to guess or predict their movements.
Unfortunately, truck driver negligence can cause harm, even if the motorist is following all safety precautions. If you are injured due to the carelessness of a truck driver, an experienced personal injury attorney can advise you of your right to recover compensation for your medical bills and other losses under New Jersey law.