Four do’s and do nots of sharing Texas roads with large trucks

Due in large part to their differences in size and weight, collisions involving commercial vehicles and passenger automobiles may have devastating consequences for those involved. In fact, trucking accidents resulted in death for 398 passenger vehicle occupants and 114 truck drivers across the state of Texas in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Although not all semitrailer-involved crashes are avoidable, some may be prevented if drivers of passenger vehicles take certain precautions.

Do allow large trucks a wide berth

Compared to smaller cars and trucks, tractor-trailers require more room to maneuver. Further, the cabs and the trailers do not always follow the same track. It is suggested that motorists allow large trucks a wider berth than they might other vehicles to ensure they have ample space. Additionally, they should refrain from attempting to squeeze past turning semitrailers, as this may result in a squeezing or crushing accident.

Do not cut off tractor-trailers

While many recognize their size, some are not aware of how that may affect the time it takes for large trucks to decelerate and accelerate. The Texas Department of Transportation points out that it may take two times as long for semitrailers to stop as it takes for the average passenger car. Drivers are advised to keep this in mind as they share the road with tractor-trailers, particularly when they are passing them. They should use care not to cut these large vehicles off. This may help them avoid being struck from behind by one of these large vehicles, which could result in potentially serious injuries or death.

Do avoid distractions

Activities that divert drivers' attention from their primary task of driving may be dangerous enough when large trucks are not present. Due to the potential serious or deadly consequences of collisions involving tractor-trailers, it may be even more essential for motorists to avoid distractions when sharing the road with commercial vehicles. Staying focused on the safe operation of their vehicles and the road around them may allow people time to react to situations or hazards in time to avoid crashing.

Do not drive in the blind spots

Semitrailers and other commercial vehicles have large blind spots that extend along their right and left sides, as well as in their front and rear. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration points out these areas, or no zones, may extend up to 20 feet in front of large trucks and up to 30 feet behind them. Since they may disappear from the truckers' view when in the blind spots, drivers are recommended to avoid staying in them any longer than is necessary.

Pursuing financial compensation

When the occupants of other vehicles suffer injuries in Texas trucking accidents, they may require extensive medical care. This may result in undue medical bills and affect their ability to work and provide for themselves and their families, either temporarily or permanently. In some circumstances, however, the trucking company or truck operator may be held responsible. Thus, those who have been injured in collisions involving semitrailers may benefit from discussing their rights and options with a legal representative.