Tips for driving safely around larger trucks in Tennessee

Knowing a truck's blind spots and understanding its specific needs on the road can help other drivers in Tennessee remain safe.

It can be frightening to share the road with large trucks, and for good reason: These overpowering vehicles take up a substantial amount of room and loom over smaller cars. Further, they are involved in a significant number of accidents. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, large trucks were involved in 119 of the 962 fatal traffic accidents in 2015.

Truck drivers have many issues of their own to battle to remain safe on the road, such as holding the proper licensing and getting enough rest before taking long trips. The following are ways other drivers can navigate the road alongside these larger vehicles.

Respect the size

A truck's large size means it will take approximately 40 percent longer to stop than a typical vehicle would, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Therefore, keeping a safe distance in front of the truck is crucial, such as when passing the truck. When passing, drivers should to the following to avoid a trucking accident:

  • Never cut off an 18-wheeler.
  • Use turn signals.
  • Wait to pass until the truck driver is visible in the mirror.
  • Avoid passing on a decline.

When the truck is passing a vehicle, the driver of the vehicle should slow a little in order to give the trucker enough space and time.

Know the blind spots

A trucker's blind spots and other areas of concern as "no zones." There are four such areas, according to the FMCSA, two of which involve 20 feet in front of the truck and 30 feet behind it. The two other areas are the blind spots, which span one lane on the driver side and two lanes on the passenger side. A good rule of thumb is that if a driver cannot see the trucker's side mirror, then the trucker most likely cannot see the driver.

Understand the turns

A semi-truck turns differently than a typical smaller motor vehicle. In fact, the cab and the trailer may follow different arcs on the turn. Some trucks will initiate a turn from the middle or far lane in order to accommodate the size of the vehicle. When this happens, other drivers should avoid trying to squeeze into the lanes between the truck and the curb. Not only is this a blind spot for the trucker, but it is also an easy way to cause an accident.

Lastly, people in Tennessee should remain patient when they are around large trucks. These vehicles often drive slower than other traffic in order to avoid a shift in the load other incident that could lead to a serious accident. People who have questions about this topic should speak to a personal injury attorney in Tennessee.

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