No matter where you drive in America, you’ll be sharing the road with commercial cars, vans, and trucks. This can be nerve-wracking, especially considering the rate of large truck crashes has increased by 47% over the last 10 years.
Here are some helpful tips to use when driving to decrease the chances of collisions with commercial vehicles and what you can do if a crash does happen.
Give Large Vehicles Plenty Of Space
It’s important to give large vehicles like semis, dump trucks, and haz mat vehicles lots of room on the road. Because they weigh thousands of pounds, they need more time to stop than cars and light trucks. They also need room on the right when they make a turn, so make sure you’re letting them use both lanes to maneuver their trucks and trailers.
Always Use Your Signals
Make sure you’re always using your turn signals and hazard lights when you need to when using the road. You can also tap on your brakes a few times before you come to a stop to let the driver behind you know of your intent to stop.
This allows drivers to anticipate what you’ll do and plan ahead what they’ll do in response. Since big vehicles need more time for stopping, turning, and changing lanes, letting drivers know where you’re going or what you’re about to do is critical.
It’s also helpful to try to make eye contact with the driver at intersections or before turning to make sure they see you and your vehicle. Based on the situation, make your move quickly or try to let the commercial driver go first depending on which is going to benefit the flow of traffic the most.
Slow Down Around Stopped Commercial Vehicles
Commercial drivers often pull their vehicles over to the side of the road to sleep, eat, answer a message, or fix something. In many cases, this involves the driver or a passenger getting out and walking around the vehicle. And when oncoming traffic is driving by at top speeds, the person outside the truck is at a high risk of getting hit.
If you see a vehicle pulled over on the side of the road, whether it’s commercial or not, it’s a good idea to slow down as you drive by. Keep an eye out for anyone outside the vehicle and assess the situation to see if there’s any way you can help.
Let Truck Drivers Know It’s Okay To Pass
One of the most difficult things for truck drivers is depth perception. Because they rely almost solely on mirrors to see around and to the sides of the truck, it can be difficult to gauge how close or how far away an object or vehicle is. And when it comes to switching lanes, truckers can have a hard time knowing when they can and can’t do it.
You can help by flashing your lights at the driver when the back of their trailer is far enough away from the bumper of your vehicle to safely move in front of you.
For example, if you are in the left lane and the trucker is trying to get around a slow driver in front of them, you can flash your lights to let them know it’s okay to get ahead of you so you’ll both pass the slower vehicle. Or, if a trucker is trying to merge back into the flow of traffic after passing a vehicle behind you, you can flash your lights to let them know they can merge in front of you.
If it’s nighttime, flash your brights on and off to get the same effect. You only need to do this a few times to let the driver know they can pass you or get into your lane. Most truckers know this sort of “secret code” and you might even find that they flash their lights back at you afterward as a thank you.
What To Do After A Commercial Accident
If you or a family member were involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you may be eligible to bring forward a claim for compensation. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we know exactly what to do to help you pursue the highest settlement possible in your case.
Our team of New Hampshire and Massachusetts commercial car accident attorneys are able to provide you with the comprehensive legal advocacy you need for a successful outcome. Contact us today for a consultation by calling our Salem office at (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.