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It’s completely normal to be nervous while driving around a semi-truck. In fact, 333,000 large trucks were involved in crashes during 2012. Although that number sounds large, you shouldn’t worry too much. That statistic doesn’t necessarily mean that the odds are against you or that you should ever expect to end up colliding with a big rig any time soon. You just have to drive with a lot of common sense and abide by the following tips.
Semis have large blind zones. While it may be impossible to totally stay out of them, spend as little time there as possible. Generally, the driver cannot see what is within 20 feet of the front of their vehicle, 30 feet behind their vehicle, 30 feet to their right and 15 feet to their left when they are driving. Think before you enter these blind spots about how you can get out of them quickly. Remember if you cannot see the driver clearly, then it may be hard for the driver to see you.
When you need to pass a semi, always do it on the truck’s left side where the blind zone is smaller. Pull out to pass the truck before you get within 30 feet of its backend. Accelerate slightly allowing you to get around it as soon as possible. If you discover that you cannot complete the pass for some reason, then pull back in behind the semi while maintaining at least 30 feet between its rear and the front of your vehicle. Alternatively, after you have passed the truck, wait until you are about 20 feet ahead of it to pull back into the right lane.
While cutting off another vehicle is always a dangerous move, it becomes even more dangerous when you do it to a semi. It can take the driver up to four seconds to realize that you have cut him off and another four seconds to get the vehicle stopped. Even at 55 miles an hour, that means the vehicle may be a minimum of 390 feet further down the road. Trucks are designed to work best when they have a full load. If the truck is empty, then it may take it even longer to stop.
If you cannot see the driver’s face in the mirror, then he may not be able to see you. Try to leave a 20 car gap between the back of the semi and your vehicle. Then, if something happens behind you, then you have time to react before you hit the truck. Otherwise, you may end up in a serious accident as your vehicle slides under the truck. If you are in front of the truck, then try to maintain a 10 car gap giving the truck driver time to react when something happens before impacting your vehicle.
Even when you follow these safety rules, accidents can happen on the highway. If you are injured, then you need to contact a personal injury lawyer. They can get you the compensation that you need to put your life back together.