When a car crash involves a semi-truck, it can be especially catastrophic. Semi-trucks weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles do, so often the occupants of smaller vehicles receive serious injuries or are killed in this type of crash.
Because a crash involving a semi-truck can be so severe, truck drivers have special rules they must follow to ensure the safety of others on the road. However, sometimes crashes happen anyway. Crashes can be caused by truck drivers breaking these rules or by other drivers on the road who may not understand the operating limitations of these large trucks.
Be aware of the operating limitations
Because of the size of semi-trucks, they react differently than passenger vehicles do on the road. Some of these differences semi-trucks have, include:
- Requiring more time to accelerate
- Requiring more space to come to a stop
- Gaining speed quickly when going down a hill
- Slowing when going up a hill
- Tipping over more easily
- Generating wind gusts strong enough to push other vehicles
- Requiring wide turns
Semi-trucks also have large blind spots on all four sides. These blind spots can be quite dangerous for smaller vehicles, which can easily be missed by a truck driver looking to merge to another lane.
Safe driving habits around semi-trucks
To avoid preventable accidents with semi-trucks, consider implementing safe driving habits that take into consideration the operating limitations of semi-trucks. One of the most important habits is staying out of the blind spots. In general, you can do this by allowing plenty of space between you and any semi-trucks you are sharing the road with. If you cannot see the driver’s face in the truck’s mirror, you can probably assume the driver cannot see you. If you find yourself in a blind spot, consider speeding up or slowing down slightly to allow more space between your vehicle and the truck.
If you decide you need to pass a semi-truck, be sure to pass on the driver’s side. Remember to use your turn signal, and pass swiftly without lingering in a blind spot. Allow plenty of space between you and the truck if you must merge in front of one. Never cut off a semi-truck and avoid merging in front of a truck when on a downgrade.
Another important habit is anticipating a semi-truck’s need to make wide turns. Semi-trucks may swing wide or start a turn from a middle lane. Try to keep your vehicle out of the truck’s turning path by leaving open the space between a turning truck and the curb, as well as always stopping behind the stop line at intersections.
Although some accidents with semi-trucks are preventable, sometimes a crash may happen anyway. If you have been injured in a crash involving a semi-truck, you may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses and other costs associated with your injury.