You might find it dangerous (and rightly so, in crashes involving big rigs, the occupants of a car, usually the driver, sustain more than 70% of the fatalities), but you will always be sharing the road with trucks.
Trucks are necessary because they haul more freight more miles than any other form of transportation. Many truck-car crashes can be avoided.
Safely sharing the road with trucks is possible when you are aware of their difficulties and limitations. Trucks pass slowly because many are speed limited. Drivers can be fired for breaking the rules.
Rather than viewing trucks as a nuisance or an obstacle to veer around, we should educate ourselves on the special practices we should follow when driving close to large vehicles. Here are some of the most useful tips and common mistakes to avoid when driving near big rigs.
Tips to Help You Drive Safely in Miami Around Big Rigs
Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
- Don't drive aggressively. Don't attempt dangerous maneuvers around trucks. When a truck wishes to move into your lane, don't speed up and get ahead because a truck can't stop as promptly as your car. A truck traveling 55 miles per hour takes about 450 feet to stop. A car traveling at the same speed can stop at 240 feet. What you should do is slow down slightly and flash your high-beams twice to let the truck driver know it is okay to make the lane change.
- If a truck is turning, stop and give it room. Truck drivers need quite a bit of distance to safely and properly turn their entire vehicle. Trucks have to swing wide to the left to safely take a right turn. They can't see motorcycles or cars behind or beside them. So, traveling too close behind it or trying to squeeze in between it and the curb may spell trouble. Check if the truck driver intends to turn before making any moves.
- Be extra careful when you pass. The bigger the truck, the longer it takes to pass it. Always pass on the left side and observe a truck's turn signal before passing. Place more space between your car and the truck than you would with other vehicles. When passing, wait until the entire cab is in your rear-view mirror before signaling and pulling in front of it. Don't cut in front of any large vehicles because they require an increased stopping distance.
- Allow plenty of clearance. Maintain a safe distance between your car and large trucks and be a cautious driver. Large trucks create wind currents that can threaten your vehicle's stability when you are close. Also, frequently, semi-trailers have tire blowouts, which can send debris into the road. Tailgating a truck is dangerous because you don't have a cushion of safety if the truck stops in front of you unexpectedly.
- Stay away from a truck's blind spots. While truckers have a good forward view and big mirrors, they still have significant blind spots. Trucks have blind spots in front, behind, and on both sides. By staying in the no-zones or blind spots, you are putting yourself and the truck driver in danger. A useful rule is that if you can't see the truck driver or his mirrors, the driver can't see you.
- Adverse driving conditions make a difference for every vehicle on the road. Allow trucks at least four-six seconds of space when there is rain, snow, smoke, or fog and you're traveling on the highway.
Safety Tips for Miami Truck Drivers
- Safety starts with the pre-trip inspection. Ensuring your truck is in safe operating order and compliant with state and federal regulations helps guard against mechanical breakdowns. A pre-trip inspection takes around 15 minutes and can save you time and money in the future.
- Always drive defensively. Be aware of everything, that way you can act accordingly, if and when necessary. Look well ahead and around your truck. Be aware of who's in front of you, beside you, and behind you at all times. Be aware of your no-zone. Be well-rested, it will keep you at your best. The electronic logbook system can provide a system for truck drivers to be well-rested if used correctly by the carrier.
- Meet break time requirements. You must comply with the mandatory Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) break time requirements. FMCSA requires you take a 30-minute break if you have been on duty for eight hours, even if you haven't been driving for eight hours.
- Drive in the right lane. A truck's main blind spot is the right side of the vehicle. Because of this blind spot, accidents and sideswipes are widespread. If conditions allow, driving in the right lane is a good way to reduce right side sideswipe accidents.
Contact Miami's Best Truck Accident Attorney, Sean M. Cleary
If you've been involved in an accident with a truck, retaining attorney Sean M. Cleary can:
- Get you fair compensation
- Be affordable
- Save you time
The Law Offices Of Sean M. Cleary, a Miami-based personal injury law firm, provides professional legal representation for truck accident victims, so for a free consultation, please contacts us by calling 305.416.9805.