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9 Tips for Driving Near Trucks & Other Dangerous Vehicles

Arkansas sees its fair share of commercial traffic.  According to a state highway route map from the Arkansas Department of Transportation, a single highway can see up to 9,500 trucks in one day.  That’s just one of the many reasons why it’s important to periodically refresh your defensive driving skills to stay as safe as possible.

In this post, a Little Rock truck accident lawyer shares 9 tips for driving near trucks, trailers, and other dangerous vehicles.

Be Aware of Blind Spots

Blind spots are located along all four sides of a tractor-trailer, and motorists traveling through a blind spot are invisible to the truck driver.  This makes them more likely to be involved in a collision if the truck driver makes an unexpected maneuver.  Do your best to safely stay in view of truck drivers so they can make informed decisions while driving.

Watch Out for Drifting

A drifting tractor-trailer may indicate that a truck driver is intoxicated, asleep, texting, or engaging in other risky behaviors behind the wheel.  Wind can also push large trucks around, especially if they aren’t fully loaded.  In mightier winds, the rig may even collapse.  Keep an eye out for drifting and safely get away from the truck if you notice it repeatedly.

Pass Carefully

You should always take caution when passing other vehicles.  Truckers require additional time to react, making passing an 18-wheeler or other large commercial truck even more challenging.  What’s more, driving alongside a large truck increases your chances of being struck by a lost tire or road debris.  Always approach from the left, where it’s easier for the truck driver to see you, and continue to drive at a constant speed as you pass the truck.

Use the Rearview Mirror Trick

A fully-loaded truck traveling 60 miles per hour can take the length of three football fields to come to a complete stop.  Avoid being rear-ended by never cutting a trailer truck off.  If you are trying to pass, do not move back into your lane until you can fully see the truck’s grill in your rearview mirror.

Maintain a Safe Distance Behind Trucks

Stopping a truck takes significantly longer than stopping a smaller passenger vehicle.  Tailing a truck too closely can create a blind spot due to the truck’s massive size, and it reduces the time you have to react to any sudden changes in the truck’s movement.

Use Caution Going Down Steep Roads

If a tractor-trailer truck follows you down a mountain road or other steep slope, try to safely move out of its way.  Downward momentum and possibly scorching brakes could result in a runaway truck, and it’s best if you are not in its path.  There is a good chance the truck driver will be unable to slow down in time to avoid a rear-end collision.

Remember That Trucks Use the Center Lane

On multi-lane highways, most truck drivers travel in the center lane to avoid the passing lane on the left and vehicles exiting and entering the highway on the right.  If you don’t want to become trapped behind a truck, stay in the right lane if you are driving slower than the truck or the left lane if you are driving faster and able to safely pass.  While the right lane is generally slower, it can also be the safest option, especially when traveling around multiple trucks on unfamiliar highways.

Understand Sweeping Turns

Compared to a typical passenger vehicle, a large truck requires more turning room and swings wide around corners.  If you’re passing a large truck attempting a turn, allow the truck driver sufficient time and space to complete the turn safely.  Never try to pass a truck that has activated its turn signal, and avoid driving between the truck and the curb.

Drive Defensively, Not Aggressively

Driving defensively means taking all reasonable steps to safely keep you, your passengers, and others on the road.  Here are some ways to engage in defensive driving:

  • Always wear a seat belt
  • Avoid talking or texting on your cell phone
  • Ensure children are always correctly seated
  • Maintain a safe speed
  • Never drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Never drive while drowsy
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Try not to make abrupt movements
  • Meet all insurance requirements

Did a Negligent Truck Driver Injure You?

No matter how many tips you read about driving near semi trucks and other dangerous vehicles, you can never fully predict how another motorist on the road will behave.  Unfortunately, commercial vehicle accidents are usually unavoidable, even when drivers act responsibly and take all reasonable precautions to avoid them.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from an accident caused by a negligent or reckless truck driver, it is critical that you take the necessary steps to protect your rights.  Insurance companies may get you to accept less than you deserve, but Arkansas’s civil laws safeguard your legal right to compensation.

Speak with a Little Rock truck accident injury lawyer to learn more about your options.  Our legal team has recovered insurance settlements and civil court awards on behalf of injury victims throughout Arkansas, including claims against some of the biggest trucking and insurance companies.  We want to put our passion, drive, and legal knowledge behind your case.


Call Beacon Legal Group for a Free Consultation Now

You deserve fair compensation when someone else causes your losses.  Contact Beacon Legal Group now for a free consultation by calling (501) 907-9539, texting (865) 412-4125, or messaging us online.  Our firm takes cases on contingency fees, meaning that we do not get paid until you win.

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