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Road Safety 101: 10 Tips for Sharing the Road with Tractor Trailers


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No matter where you drive in Michigan, you share the roads with tractor trailers, also known as semi-trucks and 18-wheelers. Large trucks are a fixture on our roads, and it is important to understand how to avoid a serious accident with these massive vehicles, which can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds.

Because of their enormous size, tractor trailers tend to do much more damage to other vehicles when they are involved in a collision. According to data collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety97% of the deaths in two-vehicle crashes involving a large truck were occupants of the passenger vehicle.

10 Tips to Help You Avoid Truck Accidents

  1. Be aware of wind currents. Large trucks create wind currents that can affect your car, especially if you have a trailer. If you feel your car being buffeted by a trucks wind, either slow down and back away or pass safely.

  2. Avoid passing a truck on the right side, especially near an intersection. A large truck may swing wide, moving to the left first. Be sure to give the truck driver room to make the turn.

  3. Mind the blind spots. Tractor trailers have many more blind spots than other vehicles. These blind spots include points directly behind the trailer and various points along the side of the trailer. Be sure the truck driver can see you in his or her rear view mirror. If passing is necessary, pass through these blind spots quickly and steadily.

  4. Do not spend much time traveling beside or just behind a truck. Remember, many trucks have blind spots, and the driver may not be able to see you.

  5. When a truck is backing up, be careful as you drive behind it. The driver may not be able to see you or hear your horn.

  6. Don't flash your headlights at trucks. Some drivers signal to trucks with their headlights when it's safe for them to merge back into a travel lane. However, this signal is not universally followed, and it's best to avoid it.

  7. Avoid quick stops in front of trucks. A truck driver going 65 mph in an 80,000-pound truck needs the length of a football field to stop.

  8. Avoid stopping too close behind a truck on a hill. The truck may roll backwards when moving again.

  9. Be alert to trucks entering and exiting highway weigh stations. Truck drivers will reduce their speed as they near a weigh station. It also takes them awhile to get back up to speed as they reenter the highway.

  10. Finally, don't take needless chances when passing trucks. A collision with a truck can have catastrophic consequences for you and your passengers.

If you have been injured in a truck or car accident, let our Detroit personal injury lawyers put more than 75 years of legal experience to work for you. Contact our firm with any questions.