The Colorado economy owes a lot to big rigs. In fact, according to the Colorado Motor Vehicle Association, roughly 33% of Colorado’s federal and state roadway taxes are paid by the trucking industry. However, these trucks still come with their own set of hazards. Large trucks are particularly intimidating and imposing on highways due to their weight and size. Truck accidents are among the most dangerous vehicular collisions you can be involved in. That is why it is so important for all drivers on the road to know how to prevent a truck accident.
Every Wednesday, the Colorado Department of Transportation displays the current number of fatalities for the year on various message boards located throughout the state. In their own words, they “hope this weekly memorial will be a wake-up call for everyone to drive more safely. Remember: It’s a person, not a number.”
Truck accidents can easily lead to catastrophic injuries, and most of them are preventable. Every driver has a responsibility to take all available precautions to drive safely. It is when someone acts negligently that most accidents occur. Any of the following peoples can be negligent: a truck driver, their employer, highway maintenance crews, and even parts manufacturers. Of course, passenger vehicle drivers can also be negligent. The good news is that there are many quick and easy ways you can prevent a truck accident.
Also known as “no-zones,” blind spots are the areas directly in front of and behind a truck, along with the area beside the truck’s right door. Due to its relatively massive size, a truck’s blind spots are much larger than those of a normal passenger vehicle. This is why it is so important for drivers to keep in mind that staying in a truck’s blind spot renders them virtually invisible to the truck driver.
You should never stay in any driver’s blind spot longer than is necessary. This goes doubly true if the other driver is a truck driver. Do not lose your patience when driving near a truck. It could make the difference between a safe arrival and a catastrophic collision. Simply maintain a safe and steady speed and maneuver out of the truck’s blind spots as soon as possible.
Unsure of whether or not you are in a blind spot? If you cannot see the driver or the truck’s mirrors, they likely cannot see you. Staying visible will help you stay safe and reduce your overall chances of being involved in an accident.
This is true no matter what kind of car you are following behind. However, trucks require a much longer stopping distance than the average passenger vehicle. This is true even if they are traveling at the same speed. In fact, the average truck will require around 20-40% more following distance.
Remember: semi-trucks are much larger than your car, and they have only limited braking power. If you suddenly pull in front of a truck and unexpectedly slam on the brakes, it will almost certainly result in a serious accident. Similarly, if you are following too closely behind a truck and the truck must brake suddenly, you will inevitably be involved in a catastrophic accident.
The proper way to pass a truck is very similar to leaving an appropriate amount of following distance between a truck and your vehicle. You will want to maximize your visibility and give all trucks a safe distance. Maintain a safe speed, and pass on the left to maximize visibility. As with all passing situations, do not forget to use your turn signals. Remember: passing a turning truck is incredibly dangerous. Make sure that you only pass when it is safe to do so.
Every turn a truck makes is a wide turn. It is an inevitability due to the size of a commercial vehicle. Tractor-trailers, in particular, may have to take extra-wide turns, especially on Colorado’s secondary roads. Take this seriously. You will likely not be able to pass a heavy, moving truck in the amount of time you will be afforded. This will only put you, your passengers, the trucker, and any surrounding vehicles at risk.
The following is a list of unsafe mistakes many people make when driving around trucks. However, keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive and take into account any other vulnerabilities you may be creating for yourself.
As you may have gathered already, much of safe driving around trucks is the same as safe driving around cars of any type. This means you already have most of the tools you need to prevent a truck accident. Just as you would any other time on the road, remember to avoid distracted driving. This term encompasses doing any non-driving activity behind the wheel, whether it be texting or eating. You will also want to remain alert and vigilant whenever you are on the road, so never go behind the wheel when you are drowsy. Follow all road rules, and make sure other drivers know how to expect your next move.
Unfortunately, sometimes accidents just happen. If you have recently been involved in a trucking accident, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country. Contact us today to schedule an initial appointment with one of our experienced nationwide trucking accident attorneys. Let us fight for you.