It seems as though the highways in Florida get more crowded every day. With both residents and tourists driving along the roads, congestion is a very real problem. Congestion brings frustration, and you could easily find yourself stressed out behind the wheel, making maneuvers that you wouldn’t otherwise.
One of the most dangerous things that you can do is lose your cool around a big rig. Why? Imagine this:
You get in your car in the morning to drive to work. You find that your side and rear windows are blacked out and your mirrors are gone. The only visibility you have is directly ahead through the windshield. You drive down the highway and are forced to change lanes. How in the world are you supposed to see if there is a vehicle next to you? This is what truck drivers face every day.
People who have never driven a truck typically are not aware of all of the blind spots that surround a semi. Take a look at the side of a truck’s cab and you see tall mirrors. It only makes sense that a trucker would be able to see you but the truth is, they probably can’t.
While some truck accidents are certainly due to truck driver error, many are the fault of the drivers of passenger cars. You can reduce your chance of being involved in one of these serious crashes when you understand how to drive safely around a semi.
Stay Out of the Danger Zone
The next time you find yourself sharing the highway with a semi truck, keep the danger zones in mind. There are blind spots, called no zones or danger zones, surrounding a large truck. These danger zones are located:
- 20 feet in front of the truck’s cab
- 30 feet behind the truck’s trailer
- Along the length of both sides of the truck
Experts tell drivers of passenger cars that if they cannot see a trucker’s face in one of the side mirrors, the trucker can’t see them. This is a good tip to keep in mind. If you are following a truck driver and can’t see their face in the driver’s side mirror, they have no idea you are behind them. The same applies if you are driving alongside a truck. If you are in front of a truck and can’t see the driver in your rearview mirror, they probably can’t see you in front of their rig.
How You Can Protect Yourself
The best thing that you can do to protect yourself from an accident with a semi truck is to stay out of the danger zones. Keep in mind that these danger zones often extend into two lanes. This means that even if there is a lane between you and the truck, you may still be in a blind spot.
1. Do not drive alongside a truck. Sometimes this is unavoidable, but if you can avoid it, do so. If you want to pass a large truck, make sure that you will be able to do it fairly quickly. If there is a chance that you will get stuck alongside the truck, wait to pass the rig until it is clear.
2. Stay far behind the truck. Remember that the blind spot behind a rig extends about 30 feet. If you find yourself within the danger zone behind a truck, let off the gas and put some more distance between your two vehicles. You’re not going to get a semi to speed up by riding its bumper — the driver won’t even know you’re there.
3. Do not cut too closely in front of a truck. If you do have the chance to pass a truck and want to get into the next lane, don’t move back over until you can see the truck’s headlights and driver in your rearview mirror. This will help to ensure that you are well ahead of the blind spot that is in front of the semi.
When a person is involved in a truck accident, the possibility of injury and property damage is high. Keep in mind that a fully-loaded truck can weigh close to 80,000 pounds. Your vehicle, even if every passenger seat is occupied, only weighs about 3,000 pounds. The sheer power of a truck heightens the risk of severe or even fatal injuries to accident victims.
If you have been injured in a truck accident in West Palm Beach, you have rights. If the accident can be attributed to some type of negligence or error on the part of the driver, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and property damage. No person should have to suffer financial difficulties due to an accident. Call our office today and speak with a member of our team to schedule your free case evaluation and discover more about your legal options.