Perhaps you live in a rural area in the midwest. Maybe you live in an urban area in the north. Your rarely come in to contact with semi trucks. That won’t be the case if you travel to Miami for vacation this season. While you are looking forward to sun and surf and a healthy amount of warm weather and sunshine, you need to pause for a moment and consider your family’s safety while you are driving.
Operating a motor vehicle in an unfamiliar area brings its own set of hazards. If you throw semi trucks into the mix, it can become very dangerous. Driving around semi trucks is something that many don’t consider to be a skill, but it really is. Semi trucks, tour buses and other large vehicles don’t operate in the same way as a passenger vehicle; they cannot maneuver as quickly when they need to. By knowing how to drive around these large and powerful vehicles, you can avoid many of the more common accidents they are involved in. Here are some tips on how to avoid truck accidents as a passenger vehicle driver.
When you were learning how to drive a car, you learned about blind spots. They are the areas of your vehicle that you cannot see in your mirrors. You have to turn your head to see if there is a vehicle, pedestrian or bicycle in these areas. Each time you purchase a new vehicle, you learn that not all blind spots are the same.
A semi truck doesn’t simply have blind spots to the sides of their cab. Their entire rig is a virtual blind spot. Stay out of the area that is within 20 feet of the front of the cab and 30 feet behind the trailer. There is a large blind spot in the lane immediately to the left of the truck, and one that almost covers two lanes to the right. This is a good rule of thumb: If you can’t see a driver’s eyes in any of their mirrors or your rearview mirror, they can’t see you.
There is nothing wrong with passing a semi or tour bus. In fact, it’s usually a better option than riding behind or alongside it. Don’t dawdle when passing a large vehicle. Get ahead of it as quickly as you safely can, but don’t cut it off. Wait until you can see the front tires of the cab meeting the road in your rearview mirror, then you can safely move in front of the vehicle.
Cutting it too close is dangerous and not worth the risk. It takes these large vehicles almost 40 percent longer to stop compared to passenger vehicles, meaning they won’t be able to slam on their brakes and avoid hitting you. Don’t pass from the right, and avoid passing the truck if you are traveling downhill.
Large vehicles make wider turns than smaller ones. If you are at an intersection and notice that a truck wants to turn onto your section of the road, stay back from the intersection and give them room. If you are next to a semi truck that is trying to turn, don’t get between it and the curb.
One of the most common causes of accidents between passenger vehicles and semi trucks is driver inattention on at least one driver’s part. If you are driving through Miami or South Florida this tourist season, please stay focused on the road.
Anything that you attempt to do behind the wheel including texting, eating and drinking can take your attention from the road. Distracted driving is a very real problem across the country. Stay aware of the task at hand, and take care of all the other things once you arrive at your destination.
Vacation is tiring. Of course you are going to enjoy yourself, and you are going to take part in activities that you may have never tried, but those days packed full of fun can wear you out. Don’t slip behind the wheel if you are fatigued. There are a lot of options for getting around the city — Uber, Lyft, bicycle, public transportation and even by foot. Leave the driving to someone else if you are too tired to drive yourself.
Miami is a fantastic destination for anyone looking for a bit of fun and sun, but it’s not without its hazards. If you are involved in an accident with a semi truck when you are in our beautiful city, please reach out to our office. We have experienced personal injury attorneys who are ready to assist you. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation, and learn more about how we can assist you and your family.