How to Avoid an Accident with a Big Rig | Law Blog
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How to Avoid an Accident with a Big Rig

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There is no doubt that the trucking industry is vital to the US economy. Indeed, the Florida Trucking Association reports that the number of large trucks on the road is on the rise, and currently sits at nearly 11 million, and that trucks cover millions of miles every year. In Florida, the numerous imports and exports that help the economy stay afloat and provide our citizens with comforts would not be possible without truck drivers and their rigs.

But large trucks, as critical as they may be, are also dangerous. To be sure, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that in a single year, there were 25 fatal accidents involving large trucks and an additional 133 incapacitating injuries. If you’re a driver in the state of Florida, knowing how to operate your vehicle around large trucks is important; unsafe driving could lead to a tragic accident.

How to Drive Safely Around Large Trucks

While not all truck accidents are caused by the actions of drivers of passenger cars, many could be avoided if drivers operated their vehicles in a safer manner. Consider the following tips for driving safely around large trucks:

  • Provide trucks with plenty of room. One mistake that many passenger car drivers tend to make is assuming that large trucks require the same amount of space to stop and otherwise navigate their vehicles as do passenger cars. However, this could not be further from the truth; large trucks, due to their weight, need a significantly greater amount of room than do passenger cars. Whether you are driving behind or in front of a big rig truck driving, make sure there is plenty of distance between your vehicle and theirs. This is especially important if you are changing lanes in front of a big truck – never cut an 18-wheeler off.
  • Know where truck blind spots are and avoid them. Another important thing to know when driving around large trucks is the location of a truck’s blind spots. Named as such because drivers cannot see vehicles or objects within blind spots, large trucks have bigger blind spots than do smaller vehicles. Large blind spots exist:
    • Directly in front of a large truck for 20 ft.;
    • Directly behind a large truck for 30 ft.;
    • Two lanes to the right of a large truck; and
    • One lane to the left of a large truck.

Spending time in a truck’s “no zones” can be deadly. If you have to pass a large truck, do so quickly, and remember that the truck driver may not be able to see your vehicle.

  • Always pass on the left and avoid “squeeze play.” You should always pass a big rig truck on the left-hand side, in large part because a truck driver may not be expecting vehicles to pass on their right, and the blind spots on the right-hand side of a truck are larger. In addition to this, though, drivers who attempt to pass on the right may become victims of what is known as “squeeze play.” Squeeze play occurs when an 18-wheeler is planning to make a right-hand turn, and as such may move their vehicle to the left lane in order to provide more room (large trucks require more turning room, and have to swing wide as such). A driver may mistakenly think that the driver’s move to the left is a sign that the truck is planning to travel straight, and therefore may attempt to pass the truck on the right. As the truck begins its right-hand turn, the smaller vehicle may be “squeezed” between the truck and the curb, resulting in a devastating accident.

In addition to the above, it is also wise to exercise other safe driving techniques always, such as driving sober, being mindful of one’s speed, and driving distraction-free.

Our Pensacola Truck Accident Lawyers Can Represent You

Even when you’re driving as safely as you can, it is possible for a truck accident to occur because of the negligence of the truck driver, trucking company, or truck part manufacturer. If you are harmed in a truck accident, you need a skilled attorney on your side who can help you to understand your options and fight for your right to a fair settlement. To schedule your free consultation with our truck accidents lawyers at the offices of Whibbs Stone Barnett, P.A., call us today at 850-500-1111 or send us a message telling us more about what happened using the intake form on our website.

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