Thousands of accidents involving semi-trucks and passenger vehicles happen every year. These accidents often include passenger vehicles that aren’t equipped to withstand a collision with a much larger vehicle, resulting in death.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013.
More than a quarter of traffic fatalities were related to speeding.
- Blind spots
While drivers are trained to check their blind spots, they make mistakes as well which makes it extremely important to steer clear of all blind spots.
- Distracted driving
The number of truck drivers affected by distracted driving is much lower than that of other drivers but it’s vital that we all pledge to end distracted driving. Common distractions include cell phone use and eating while driving.
- Improper maintenance
Trucks should receive periodic maintenance, including brake checks before each trip.
A semi-truck pulling a loaded trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds while the average car only weighs about 3,000 pounds. Because of this weight and size difference the injuries associated with trucking accidents are typically more severe than a regular auto accident.
Approximately 5,000 people in passenger vehicles die every year in automotive accidents involving semi-trucks. Additionally, about 700 individuals in semi-trucks die each year in these crashes.
Although you can’t control how other drivers control their vehicle, you can drive as safe as possible to decrease to risk of an accident.
- Avoid blind spots – areas directly behind and in front of the semi as well as spots on either side are unable to be seen by the driver. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you.
- Don’t change lanes abruptly in front of semi-trucks – trucks cannot maneuver or stop as quickly as passenger vehicles.
- Leave extra room for large trucks that are turning.
- Only pass semi-trucks on the left. The right side of the truck is one of the largest blind spots for the driver.
- Avoid distractions including your phone, food, or excessive talking to passengers.
The most important tip when it comes to driving a semi-truck or driving around a semi-truck, leave plenty of room. When trucks are hauling thousands of pounds behind them they can’t stop as quickly but leaving at least 7.5 half seconds travel distance between a passenger vehicle and a semi-truck.