Family vacations, road trips and the daily commute mean that thousands of passenger vehicles join big rigs on I-5 in Oregon every day, increasing the chance of a collision. Understanding the differences between a commercial truck and your car or truck can help you share the road with them safely.
According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the challenges that come with driving a tractor-trailer include the following:
- Longer stopping time
- Reduced field of vision
- Susceptibility to wind gusts
Deadly collisions with passenger vehicles can result from negligent commercial drivers. Here are a few tips to help you share the road with a big rig safely.
Leave more room
Stopping can take more time and distance due to the weight of a tractor-trailer. When traveling at highway speeds, it can take the length of half a football field to stop. Leave a greater distance between your vehicle and a big truck, than you would a passenger car or truck. When passing, get by it as quickly and safely as possible.
Look for the mirrors
The height and length of a truck increase the number and size of the driver’s blind spots. If you can’t see the side view mirrors when following a commercial truck, chances are the driver cannot see you. Drop back until you see the mirrors on both sides of the truck. After passing a semi, don’t pull into the lane ahead of it until you see the driver in your rearview mirror. This ensures he can see you and may not need to take evasive maneuvers.
Beware of wind gusts
The large surface of the trailer and cab can catch the breeze and create more air current, even on relatively still days. In windy conditions, the area acts as a sail. This may result in the trailer tipping and the driver losing control of the rig. If there are wind gusts, hold the wheel with both hands when passing and get out of the wind zone as quickly as is safe.
Professional drivers generally check the forecast and change their routes as needed. If your accident involves a trucker who took risks in unsafe conditions, you may have grounds for a negligence claim.