You’re probably familiar with big rigs, even if you don’t drive one yourself. These are the 18-wheelers you see on the highway, and they can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Given their size and weight, it’s no wonder these trucks can cause so much damage in accidents.
But even if you’re careful around big rigs, there’s always a chance of being involved in an accident. That’s why it’s essential to avoid risky situations with these trucks. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common causes of accidents involving big rigs and offer tips on staying safe around them.
Know the Rules of the Road
The best way to avoid a truck accident is to know the rules of the road. That means understanding how big rigs operate and how they need more space to maneuver.
For example, did you know that truck drivers have to use their turn signals earlier than you might expect? They also can’t make quick lane changes or U-turns. If you need to become more familiar with these rules, getting yourself into a risky situation with a big rig is easy.
Avoid Distractions While Driving
When driving a big rig, it’s essential to avoid distractions. That means keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
Many things can distract drivers, from cell phones to radios to eating. But the biggest distraction is often other drivers. So it’s essential to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
If you see something that could cause a problem or if another driver is behaving dangerously, don’t hesitate to take action. Get off the road if needed, or call for help if necessary. The bottom line is that your safety and the safety of others depend on your ability to focus on the task at hand.
Check Your Mirrors Often
When you’re driving a big rig, checking your mirrors is crucial. You must be aware of your surroundings at all times, which means checking your mirrors frequently.
Make sure you’re always aware of what’s going on around you. If you see another car getting too close, move to the right and let them pass. If there’s a car in your blind spot, use your turn signal to let them know you’re about to change lanes.
Remember, big rigs have a lot of weight and size on them, so they can’t stop as quickly as a regular car. By being aware of your surroundings and taking precautions, you can help prevent accidents from happening.
Stay Alert for Any Signs of Trouble
When driving near a big rig, it’s essential to stay alert and be aware of any signs that may indicate trouble abroad. For starters, sudden changes in speed, braking, or turning suggest that something may be off ahead. This can be especially dangerous on highways and interstates, so it’s imperative to always maintain a safe following distance from the large truck.
Other signs of potential danger include swerving out of the lane, the truck veering off onto a shoulder or median, or even smoke billowing out from the back of the vehicle. If you ever encounter these things while traveling with a truck near you, your best bet is to stay as far away as possible and either call for help or wait for law enforcement to arrive.
In addition to these signs of potential danger, look out for trucks carrying heavy loads. It’s essential to give them extra space when passing or turning and never attempt to overtake them unsafely. Heavy loads can cause unsafe maneuvers that can quickly escalate into life-threatening accidents if not handled properly.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
When driving around a big rig, it’s super important to be aware of your surroundings. You must stay in your lane and keep a safe distance from the truck in front of you. You should also be mindful of any blind spots that the big rig may have.
Make sure you’re paying attention to what’s happening around the truck, such as other vehicles, pedestrian traffic, and any obstacles or debris on the road. Knowing what’s happening around you can help you avoid risky situations that could lead to an accident.
It can also help if you give yourself plenty of room—for example, don’t drive too close to the truck or move in between them if they are passing each other. If a truck driver is distracted or unable to manage their speed correctly, following too closely could lead to an accident.
Be sure to keep an eye on whatever is happening in front of, alongside, and behind your vehicle when driving near a big rig, as this will help you better anticipate and avoid any potentially dangerous situations that may arise.
Have a Plan for Emergency Situations
Nobody ever plans on getting into an accident with a big rig, but it can happen. If you’re ever in a sticky situation, you must have an action plan.
First and foremost, always drive your vehicle defensively. Be aware of your surroundings and look for potential hazards before they become issues. Make sure you turn your signal lights on and off to indicate when you’re changing lanes, and watch your speed so that you don’t have to slam on the brakes unexpectedly.
Second, if something does happen, remain calm and stay in your vehicle until help arrives. If necessary, call a Colorado truck accident attorney for advice about what steps to take next or how to handle the situation with the other driver. Don’t leave the scene of an accident without exchanging insurance information with the other party involved or consulting with an attorney specializing in truck accidents.
In summary, just be cautious when driving around big rigs and always give them the space they need. If you’re ever in doubt, just remember the three Ds:
Don’t cut off a big rig
Don’t drive in the same lane as a big rig
Don’t drive too close to a big rig