Commercial motor vehicles (CMV), such as big rigs, are the largest vehicles on the road. Some of them can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. They also tend to be hard to maneuver. Turns require an extreme radius, and coming to a complete stop from 55 MPH on dry pavement with good breaks will take a heavy vehicle about 390 feet (4 seconds). Because trucks are so dangerous, it is up to everyone sharing the road to be respectful of the danger they pose and aware of their capabilities. Here are our tips for safely sharing the road with large CMVs.
Avoid Blind Spots
Even small cars have blind spots, which is why many driving tests require a driver to check his or her blind spots before changing lanes. The blind spots for CMVs are much larger. Big rigs have multiple blind spots on both sides of the vehicle, right in front of the truck, and just behind the truck. CMVs will often have a notice on the back of the truck that says something like “If you can’t see me in my mirrors, I can’t see you.” Staying out of these blind spots can save you and the truck driver grief if the big rig needs to change lanes, stop suddenly, or speed up.
Give Them Lots of Space
Cars are capable of speeding up fairly quickly when merging, but CMVs aren’t capable of doing this. If you see you are near a merging truck, give it as much space as possible. Likewise, keep a considerable distance between yourself and the back or front of large trucks to prevent any dangerous situations, such as sudden stops. It also helps to avoid driving side-by-side with a truck in case the CMV rolls over in a high wind or a tire blows out.
Pass the Truck Safely
Trucks are obligated to go slower than the rest of traffic on the freeway. The maximum speed they are allowed to go is 55 MPH. Because this is too slow for many busy people, they will get angry and try to pass the truck quickly. Remember, they’re not going slow to make your day harder deliberately. You can pass them safely by changing to the lane on the vehicle’s left, which has a smaller blind spot, and maintain a steady speed as you pass them. Likewise, don’t dark just in front of the truck when you do pass them by. Give a good cushion of space and signal, so the driver has enough time to react to your lane change.
If you’re turning right, be aware the truck next to you might be making an enormous turn. If it is signaling right, keep behind it at a safe distance until it finishes its turn. It may move from the lane next to you into the right lane on a two-lane road. You never know which lane the truck driver will end up choosing to occupy, so keep aware of where it seems to be headed.
Not all truck drivers are safe drivers. Many of them are fully certified, but that doesn’t prevent people from being reckless or careless with their driving. Keep an eye out for any strange driving behaviors and keep an eye out for sudden lane changes if the driver doesn’t signal. Alertness can prevent you from being hit by a sudden lane change or brake from a nearby CMV.
If you have been injured in a collision with a CMV, don’t hesitate to call us. Our skilled Wichita truck accident attorneys have been helping people seek compensation for their injuries and property damage for more than three decades. Hutton & Hutton Law Firm, LLC is known for its reliable and compassionate advocates who have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. Let us see what we can do for you.
Call us at (316) 688-1166or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation with us today.