Getting into an accident with a commercial vehicle is no joke. Large trucks can cause extreme devastation due to their mass and often times flammable or toxic contents. Learning how to navigate around them can reduce your risk of learning just how serious the effects of such an accident can be.
The first thing you notice about a truck is its size. This is an important factor that can make it harder for you to see the road around the truck. It also creates blind zones for the truck driver, who is usually unable to see the road 20 feet ahead of the truck, 30 feet behind it and within a large diagonal swath on both sides.
Navigating the blind zones
Your initial approach should be to stay out of the blind zones, but you may not always have the ability to do so. If you need to move into a blind zone, signal your intent. Check if the truck driver can see you by looking over at the truck's side mirror; if you cannot see the driver's face when you do that, the driver probably cannot see you.
Keeping your distance
Because of its mass, a semi will take longer to come to a halt or change its speed or direction. Take this into account when you drive in proximity to a large truck. Tailgating and cutting off are generally unwise behaviors, but the consequences are more likely to to be devastating when you do this with a truck.
Watching out for signs of danger
As with other vehicles, stay vigilant for signs of unsafe conduct from commercial drivers. Excessive speed, aggressive behavior such as honking or gesturing, drifting out of lanes or failing to react to traffic signals can all indicate impairment, whether through substances, excessive fatigue or road rage. Do your best to keep your distance and consider contacting law enforcement when you observe risky driving.
Dealing with the aftermath of an accident
Even taking all possible precautions does not always prevent accidents, which can occur due to factors beyond your control. Truck accidents may tend to involve particularly serious injuries, so it is important to get proper legal advice as to the best way to move forward and obtain the compensation you need.