8 Ways to Prevent Trucking Accidents


Commercial trucks are dangerous on the roadways due to their significant size and power. If the truck collides with a smaller vehicle, the consequence will be devastating.

In this case, motorists of smaller vehicles must know how to drive around trucks to prevent trucking accidents safely.

Truck accidents can result in disastrous effects, which can result in life-altering injuries like paralysis, spinal cord injuries, and amputations. Some cases happen wherein surviving family members have lost a loved one in a truck accident.

In this article, I will provide you with eight tips to help prevent trucking accidents. These are also essential to remember even after acquiring your CDL.

1. Avoid Blind Spots

Compared to other motorists, commercial trucks have many more blind spots. If possible, stay only in one lane.

Trucks have bigger blind spots than the common vehicles. This one may have seemed obvious, but it’s easy to forget when on the road that your big truck in the way may not able to see other vehicles at that moment at all.

For the motorists, it’s important to know the lane on the driver’s side, going back to about half of the length of the trailer.

  • 20 ft. in front of the truck
  • 30 ft. behind the truck
  • Two lanes wide on the right side of the truck

As a truck driver, if you can barely see the motorists on your side mirror, make sure that you take extra care and ensure you are allowing plenty of space between you and other’s vehicle.

2. Do Not Overtake

Maintain your speed and do not pass over other vehicles. Remember that large trucks cannot stop as quickly as easily as other vehicles. This means that truck drivers need extra time to react and adjust their speed.

Some important points to remember are:

  • When going uphill or downhill, gradually increase or decrease your speed.
  • Use proper signals when you are turning or changing lane.
  • Do not merge back into the lane of other vehicles, most especially that you cannot clearly see other motorists in your mirror.

If you pass, stay on the left and slow down.

3. Look for Signals

Beware of the signals other vehicles are providing you. That way, you can anticipate your actions, whether those vehicles will change lanes or make turns. Not seeing it immediately might difficult for you to adjust your driving and may result in the collision.

4. Give Your Truck Plenty of Space

An average truck weighs anywhere between 15,000 to 90,000 pounds. No matter how well-maintained truck and brake is, the amount of time it takes to stop is more than the average car.

Hence, avoid being near to other vehicles for too long. Driving close to other vehicles puts you at an increased risk of an accident.

These factors include:

  • High winds – Strong winds can cause rollovers to other vehicles.
  • Sudden braking – If you suddenly brake, your truck may bump into another vehicle. Others may slide under your truck, or your truck may tip over.
  • Tire blowouts – Tire remnants can tear off your truck’s tire and hit your windshield.

To give your truck more space, you need to do the following:

  • Maintain the following distance in front of other vehicles of at least four seconds.
  • Give your truck plenty of space while turning. Because of your vehicle’s huge size, you may take up to two lanes when making wide turns.
  • Do not pass a right-turning vehicle on the right. While there may be a gap between the rear and front wheels of your truck, you could be hit or trapped in the limited space between your vehicle and the curb.
  • Remember that leaving enough space for the truck will ensure they, and you, have enough time to react.

5. Lower your Lights

Bright headlights may reflect off of the other vehicle’s side mirrors and blind them. So, always lower your high beams while you are near any other vehicle.

While being blinded may irritate other drivers, for you, this may lead to catastrophic consequences.

6. Avoid Distractions

Distracted driving puts you at an increased risk of harm. Avoid activities that take hands or eyes off the road, including food, drink, cellphones, and those that take your mind like the noisy passengers.

Only read and respond to text messages after you have reached your destination. Texting only causes thousands of car and truck accidents nationwide annually.

7. Do Not Merge

Do not merge into any vehicle most, especially if traffic is slowing to a stop. Your truck will find it more difficult to slow down quickly when braking. If other vehicles are passing you, decelerate to decrease your truck’s passing the time.

8. Be Patient

Many will cringe at the idea of letting your truck in front of them on the highway. Because you are driving slowly, it can be a daunting idea for most to let you in and snail behind you. 

However, just be patient. Never speed up as trying to do can cause severe accidents. Avoid unnecessary harm and maintain your speed.

 

Joel Curtis

Joel Curtis from Texas is a 30-year veteran in the trucking industry. He's driven refrigerated, flatbed, tankers, intermodals and more. You can find him as the primary author at America's Driving Force and at industry events.

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