Tips for Avoiding Auto Accidents with Trucks on the Highway
Our law practice is based out of South Florida, where many communities and businesses are nestled right along I-95 and the Florida Turnpike. Because of their proximity to I-95 and the Turnpike, most Floridians rely on these highways as efficient means by which to commute to and from work, social gatherings, familial responsibilities, etc.
However, trucking companies also take advantage of I-95 and the Turnpike, and, as a result, small cars, sedans and SUVs often have to share the road with enormous 18-wheelers, making driving on these highways both nerve-wracking and dangerous. Being nervous around a large, commercial truck is entirely normal. You should know, though, that accidents involving these giant trucks could be avoided if you follow simple, safe habits when behind the wheel of your vehicle.
Generally, the key to preventing an auto accident is defensive driving. In relation to driving alongside or behind a commercial truck, it’s important for a driver to recognize that a commercial truck does not have anywhere near the maneuvering capabilities that a smaller car or even a family SUV has. The commercial truck is very limited in terms of ability to accelerate and/or slow down, so keep your distance. Moreover, the truck’s driver has a very limited ability to see what and who is around the sides and back of the truck, just due to the sheer size of the truck.
To this last point, it is vital that you stay visible to the driver of the truck. This means avoiding the areas around the truck where the driver has little to no visibility. Generally, as you have probably noticed when driving behind a truck, most commercial trucks will have a sign on them that reads, “if you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you.” That is a good point, and it is advice you should heed. Make sure that you can see the driver’s mirrors. Related to this is the necessity that you not hold position in a truck’s blind spot; if you do, and said truck goes to make a right or left turn or switch lanes, you could be hit during the maneuver.
While it’s a bad idea to hold position in a truck’s blind spot, you might have to pass through the blind spot if you are passing the truck. That said, make sure that you have sufficient room ahead of you to pass the truck and get ahead of the truck. It’s important to ensure that there is not another care up ahead that will prevent you from navigating out of the truck’s blind spot; make sure you have open space out in front of you.
Lastly, many people think that the risk of a car accident is minimized while driving overnight or in the dark because there are fewer cars in the road. While there are fewer cars on the road at that time, there are a far higher percentage of commercial trucks, which can make driving at night perhaps even more dangerous than doing so during the day. If you are particularly nervous around commercial trucks on the highway, try to stay off the roads at night, because truck drivers prefer to use the highways at night due to the general lack of smaller cars at that time.
Auto accidents involving trucks can be absolutely catastrophic. The legal weight limit for a non-oversized 18-wheeler is 80,000 pounds. Compare that to a typical sedan, which weighs around 3,000 pounds. In a collision between the two, it is very likely that the individual(s) in the smaller car will sustain the worst injuries.
If you have questions about commercial truck safety or auto accident injuries, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green. To schedule a free consultation at no cost or obligation, give us a call at 561-266-9191. We look forward to assisting you.