Sharing the road with semi-trucks is an inevitable part of roadway travel in Missouri. In order to travel safely, drivers of smaller passenger vehicles must be mindful of large trucks' physical capabilities and limitations. In this post, our auto accident lawyers share some basic safety tips to help you avoid accidents involving semis and arrive safely at your destination.
Make yourself visible to truck drivers. Because of their size and height, semi-trucks have much larger blind spots than passenger vehicles. Remember, semi-trucks don't have rearview mirrors: if you can't see a trucker's side mirrors, he can't see you. Avoid lingering in a semi-truck's blind spots, which exist along the front end of the truck and down the sides of the truck's trailer.
Allow extra space between your vehicle and a semi-truck. Following a semi too closely can be incredibly dangerous. If a trucker attempts to perform an emergency maneuver and you rear-end the trailer, you can suffer serious, even life threatening injuries. Safety advocates say you should leave about 20 to 25 car lengths between your vehicle and a semi traveling in front of you. In inclement weather or in poor roadway conditions, you'll want to leave even more space.
Never cut off or cut in front of a semi-truck. Semi-trucks can't execute emergency maneuvers as quickly or as efficiently as passenger vehicles, because they're simply too large and too heavy. Cutting in front of a semi could be a deadly mistake, as the trucker may be unable to slow down in time to avoid a collision. On average, a fully loaded semi requires approximately 20 to 40% farther to stop, compared to most passenger vehicles.
Be cautious when passing a semi-truck. When passing a semi, do so quickly while maintaining a consistent speed and stay toward the outside of your lane. Never pass a large truck on the right - a trucker's blind spots are even larger on that side of the vehicle. After passing, be sure to wait until you can see the truck's headlights in your rearview mirror to shift back into the right lane.
Report unsafe truck drivers to law enforcement officials and trucking companies. If you observe a trucker driving dangerously, contact police to report the vehicle - though you should pull over in a safe place before doing so, or allow a passenger to make the call. Keep your distance, and don't challenge the truck. You can also call the 800-number posted on the back of many commercial vehicles and report the trucker's behavior to his or her employer.