As the driver or passenger of a car or pickup, you could sustain serious injuries in a collision with a large truck. Such vehicles exert a great deal of force because of their significant mass.
When you encounter a large truck on the road, there are many things you cannot change or control. However, you can adapt your driving behavior to avoid an accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration describes several things you can do as the driver of a passenger vehicle to avoid a truck accident.
1. Provide turning room
A tractor-trailer requires a turning radius of 55 feet. For the trailer to go where it should, the cab has to swing wide. You should stay back when stopped at an intersection to allow the truck adequate turning room.
2. Avoid tailgating
Following another vehicle too closely is always dangerous and discourteous. Your vehicle is smaller and lower to the ground than a truck, meaning that it could get stuck under the trailer in a crash. Therefore, you should always avoid tailgating, especially in a situation where the truck could roll back, such as on an upward slope or at a stoplight.
Another reason why following too closely is dangerous is because it puts you into the truck driver’s blind spot. Remember that trucks have larger blind spots than passenger cars.
3. Do not cut off trucks
When passing, be sure that you allow enough stopping distance between you and the truck before you return to your lane. The larger the vehicle, the more time it takes to stop.
A truck accident can lead to catastrophic injuries, such as broken bones, organ damage and lost limbs, as well as brain or spinal cord injuries. You cannot control the truck driver’s schedule, speed or state of mind, but you can put yourself in a better position to avoid a collision.