Texas is one of the biggest commercial shipping states in America. No matter where you are on a highway in Texas, you can count on sharing the road with a big rig somewhere. Commercial traffic isn’t going away, and sometimes, accidents with commercial trucks happen. Texas requires all commercial drivers to have special training and licenses, but car drivers still need to be careful when on the road with these massive vehicles.
Gibson Hill Personal Injury wants to help keep you safe and secure now that things are returning to normal and there’s more traffic on the roadways. Use common sense and follow these practical tips, and the risk of accidents can be minimized.
Watch the “No Zones”
Big rigs’ blind spots are enormous. The blind spots, or “no-zones” on the sides of the truck extend from the door of the cab to the back, at a 45-degree angle, for two lanes on the right and one on the left. The driver also cannot see anything twenty feet in front of the cab and thirty feet behind.
These huge blind spots are danger zones for any smaller vehicle attempting to pass a truck. A driver cannot avoid you if they cannot see you, and even the most high-tech mirror cannot always tell the driver if you’re down there. Do not cruise alongside a truck, especially on the right side. Pass quickly and get clear of the trailer.
Be Aware of the Lag Time
Cars are nimble and maneuverable. Trucks hauling trailers are not. The length of the trailer means that the back end of the truck is still turning after the front end has finished. Trucks cannot swerve easily, and in icy or wet conditions, they cannot turn rapidly without jackknifing. Many interstate pileups begin when a semi tries to swerve or stop abruptly, and the weight of the trailer continues to propel it forward after the truck has stopped.
Keep this slow response time in mind before you decide to cut in front of a truck. The driver cannot see you and cannot brake fast enough to keep from hitting you. You may feel you have the right of way, but on the road, size matters.
Pay Attention When Trucks Are Around
Texting while driving is illegal almost everywhere. It is an especially bad idea to text and drive when you share the road with big rigs. You should try to avoid any distractions when there are large vehicles around you. Pay close attention to where the trucks are going and look for turn signals and brake lights. If the weather suddenly changes, it might be a good time to let them have the road. Truck tires throw up a lot of water, and your wipers may not be able to keep up.
Be Careful on the Shoulder
Breaking down at any time can be hazardous. If you are on a main highway full of semis, staying on the road can be deadly. If it’s at all possible, you should try to exit the highway, or at least pull as far off the road as you can. You may not always be able to get off the road. If you can’t, you need to consider the safest course of action.
- If your car is broken down and immobile, call 911 and roadside assistance. Turn on your hazard lights. Police strongly recommend you stay in your vehicle with the seatbelts fastened. You should not exit the vehicle, and you should not try to run for the shoulder.
- In bad weather, such as heavy rain, fog, or hail, attempt to get off the road and onto the shoulder. Stop your vehicle. Do not turn on your hazard lights. People may see your lights and believe you are still on the road. Remain in your car with your seatbelts fastened.
In these days of “road rage,” one final warning is to never get into a road argument with anyone bigger than you. Even a delivery van is bigger than the average sedan, and you could find yourself in a fight you can’t win. No matter how angry the truck driver may have made you or how right you are, do not fight with a truck. You will lose.
How We Can Help
If you have done everything right and still get hit by a semi, you may need help filing your insurance claim or pursuing legal action. You should have a knowledgeable attorney helping you with your case. Contact the Texas truck accident lawyers of Gibson Hill Personal Injury at 512-580-8334 to discuss your truck-related accident right away. The consultation is free.