Driving in the vicinity of semi-trucks and other large vehicles is dangerous. The size and weight of these vehicles are often 20 to 30 times as much as smaller vehicles.
Because of their size, trucks need more room for braking and turning. Understanding how to drive around them can greatly decrease the risks of a serious crash.
Dangers of truck accidents for passenger vehicles
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, when there are crashes involving large trucks, the majority of the serious injuries and deaths occur to the occupants of the passenger vehicles. Common causes of truck accidents include driver fatigue, faulty braking systems and defective equipment.
The weight and length of trucks are issues, but so is the fact that many trucks are high enough off the ground that cars can slide underneath them, which is an underride crash. This issue causes fatalities about 50% of the time.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, one of the best tips a driver can follow is to give a large truck plenty of space. Trucks have large blind spots at the sides, front and back of the vehicle. To ensure a driver is not in one of the blind spots, the driver of the truck should be visible in one of the truck’s side mirrors.
Giving a truck ample space in the front allows it more room for braking, and giving it more room in the back prevents an underride crash. Other drivers should also allow for more turning room, as trucks take wide turns.
Along with following tips that are specific to driving around trucks, other drivers should also follow general tips such as not driving fatigued or under the influence and to always wear a seatbelt.