Driving in close proximity to a semi-truck can be a scary experience. Big rigs are massive, their size and weight making them the most imposing vehicle on the road.
Most drivers exercise caution around semis. But do you know how much space you should leave between your vehicle and the truck to prevent an accident?
Semi-trucks have a number of “no-zones” where other motorists should not drive when they are in close proximity to a tractor-trailer. Here are the most important steps to take when sharing a road with an 18-wheeler, as well as what you should if you are involved in a crash with a truck:
When Passing a Truck, Drivers Should …
Stay where the driver of the truck can see you. If the truck is to your right, you should not be even with the tractor unit. Adjust your speed so you are slightly ahead of the truck or slightly behind where the trailer connects.
A truck driver’s biggest blind spot is to the right of the rig. You should stay at least one car length back from the cab in the lane immediately to the right of the truck. If there is an additional lane to your right, you should also have the front of your vehicle almost even with the back of the trailer. Believe it or not, truck drivers are unable to see vehicles that are two lanes to the right when they are parallel with any point of the truck.
You should never try to overtake a semi-truck or any other vehicle on the right. The blind spot is always bigger on the right-hand side, which increases the potential for a collision.
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When Being Passed by a Large Truck, Drivers Should …
Maintain speed and stay in your lane. Although semi trucks are usually slower than nearby traffic, truck drivers will sometimes try to overtake other vehicles.
Speeding, aggressive driving, and other risky behaviors may underlie a truck driver’s decision to pass your vehicle. Do not try to antagonize the driver of the big rig, as this could result in an accident.
When Driving Behind a Large Truck, Drivers Should …
Put a minimum of 30 feet between the front of your vehicle and the back of the trailer. The space behind the trailer of a big rig is another dangerous area because the truck driver relies entirely on side mirrors to check the rearview. You need to allow enough room for the driver to see you when looking behind the trailer.
When Driving in Front of a Large Truck, Drivers Should …
Allow enough space for the front of the truck to be entirely visible in your rearview mirror. This is approximately 20 feet.
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What to Do If You Are in an Accident with a Large Truck
Recognizing the no-zones and keeping your distance is crucial for preventing an accident with an 18-wheeler. Unfortunately, safe driving isn’t always enough to avoid a collision with a tractor-trailer.
Truck drivers sometimes ignore the rules of the road. They drive too fast, pass other cars illegally, and fail to exercise caution when merging and changing lanes. Other issues, such as impaired driving and fatigue, also increase the risk of a crash with nearby vehicles.
If you or a loved one was involved in a truck accident, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can investigate the crash on your behalf.
How Do I Prove the Truck Driver Was At Fault?
Commercial drivers must complete education and training before they can operate a big rig. As such, you might expect truck drivers to exercise greater caution than other motorists when driving around other vehicles. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
To recover compensation, you must prove that the negligence of one or more parties caused the accident. In the vast majority of cases, truck accident victims will be too seriously injured to start documenting the crash at the scene. When you hire a lawyer, you can rest assured that crucial evidence will be documented and preserved.
Some of the most important pieces of evidence in a truck accident claim include:
- Pictures of the accident scene; photos can show the positioning of the vehicles, marks on the road, and other details that could indicate who caused the accident
- Eyewitness statements that establish the carelessness of the truck driver
- Video from traffic cameras and other devices that capture footage of the accident
A truck accident attorney can also obtain the truck driver’s logs and trucking company records. Careful examination may reveal negligence on the part of the driver and his or her employer, such as violations of the hours of service rules, failure to inspect the rig before driving, and other issues that may have contributed to the accident.
It is also necessary to consider all of the additional parties that may be liable for the truck accident. Assessment of the semi-truck, for instance, could reveal a defective part, negligent maintenance, improper loading, and other factors that made the truck a danger to you and other people on the road.
Liability is a complex issue in truck accident claims, with multiple parties often at fault. The negligence of the truck driver behind the wheel may be the primary cause of the crash, but you do not want to overlook other parties that may be liable for your injuries and damages.
If you or someone you love was in an accident with a semi-truck, you should take legal action as soon as possible. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can review your case for free and advise you of your options for pursuing compensation.
Please call (201) 585-9111 today. Our truck accident attorneys serve clients throughout New Jersey and New York.