If you spend any time on Florida roads, you know that large trucks sometimes rule the road. Florida is home to a large and vibrant shipping industry. While this may be good for commerce, it can be frightening for drivers. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that between 2007 and 2017, Florida was one of the top ten states in the country for fatal truck accident crashes.
Yet, there are practical tips that every driver can take to help prevent serious truck accidents from happening. The next time you have to share the road with a big rig, consider these four safety tips for avoiding a collision with a large truck.
Allow More Space
Large vehicles can limit your ability to see what is ahead of you. Following too closely can further limit your ability to see and anticipate what’s in front of you. Not only that but following a large truck too closely can put you directly in harm’s way. If a large truck suddenly hits the brakes, it can cause what is known as an underride accident. An underride accident happens when a passenger car rear-ends a large truck, then slides underneath it. These types of collisions can be deadly. Following too closely can also put you in the path of debris from loose or improperly loaded cargo or tire blowouts.
If you are sharing the road with a large vehicle, be sure to give it plenty of space. Allow at least 300 feet of space between you and the truck ahead of you. Ideally, it should be enough space to allow for a three to four-second following distance between you and the truck ahead of you. Also, don’t crowd a large vehicle when the driver is trying to negotiate a turn.
Use Caution in a Truck’s Blind Spots
Blind spots are often referred to as a truck’s “no-zones.” These are areas of the vehicle where the driver is unable to see their surroundings. While trucks are equipped with several mirrors, the size and shape of these vehicles mean there are several areas that even mirrors can’t reach. An entire passenger car can become nearly invisible to a truck driver while in a no-zone.
There are several different no-zones on large vehicles. These zones include:
- Front-no zone
- Rear no-zone
- Side no-zones
- Wide turn zones
A good rule of thumb is if you can’t see the truck driver’s face in their side mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you. Use caution when traveling in a truck’s blind spots and get out of their no-zone as quickly and safely as you can.
Pass Carefully but Quickly
Use caution when attempting to pass large trucks and always use turn signals to indicate your intentions. It is difficult for large trucks to maneuver and adjust their speed. Try not to pass trucks while going up or down hills or inclines when it is more difficult for them to control their vehicles.
Always pass a truck on the left side. Drivers have a much wider blind spot on the passenger side, making it more difficult for them to spot you if you pass on the right. Again, because of blind spots, after you pass, don’t merge back into the same lane until you can easily see the driver in your rearview mirror. When passing a large truck, it is always best to do so quickly, but safely.
One of the leading causes of car and truck accidents is distracted driving. Distracted driving killed 3,142 people in 2019, according to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Always keep your eyes and attention on the road and avoid using a cell phone while driving. Minimizing distractions will help you stay focused and ready to respond if a large truck suddenly stops, loses its cargo, or makes a dangerous maneuver.
Reach Out to an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
Sometimes you can follow all the rules and still find yourself the victim of an unfortunate accident. Collisions with large trucks are unique. Claims are generally not as easy to navigate, and trucking companies can make the process of recovering fair compensation challenging.
If you are involved in a large truck accident, contact the legal team of The Bruner Law Firm for valuable legal advice. We have years of experience helping Florida victims of large truck accidents recover the money they deserve to treat their injuries and recoup their losses. For a free consultation, call our office at (850) 243-2222 today. We want to help you get the compensation you need.