The dangers that large commercial trucks pose cannot be overstated. Though these big rigs are a vital part of our economy, getting into a car accident with one is often deadly. The sheer size of a commercial truck means that they can cause more damage than a regular passenger vehicle.
If you've ever had a close call with a tractor-trailer, you likely know how important it is to exercise caution around these vehicles. Fortunately, experts say that there are ways for both car and truck drivers here in Texas to avoid truck accidents.
Dos and don'ts for drivers of passenger vehicles
Car drivers may not realize just how dangerous some of the things they do while behind the wheel can be to themselves and others. Experts warn against risky driving behavior such as any of the following:
- Abruptly changing lanes
- Moving to the right of a truck that is turning right
- Failing to appropriately change speed when a truck is merging or changing lanes
They also advise against driving between large trucks, pulling into traffic in front of a truck without speeding up or passing a truck unsafely.
Drivers should also avoid driving in a truck's "no-zones" -- the areas of a truck where the truck driver has reduced visibility. Some misjudge the truck's speed or abilities and attempt to turn or merge in front of a truck. Erroneously, they expect it to be able to brake or maneuver as easily as a passenger vehicle.
Other drivers neglect to remove disabled vehicles from travel lanes, which can cause serious accidents. Trucks also have the potential to produce cross-winds or air turbulence, which can inadvertently push cars out of their lanes.
What truck drivers can do to prevent accidents
The responsibility for preventing accidents does not only lie with drivers of passenger vehicles. There are several precautions that truck drivers and their companies can utilize as well. Comprehensive training that includes truck driving technique and potential safety threats can help truck drivers help themselves. Some companies have incentive programs that lead to unsafe driving habits, such as speeding or driving longer hours than experts advise. Poor scheduling can encourage these same unsafe driving practices.
The bottom line is that everyone can do a better job of implementing safe driving practices around commercial trucks. However, even with every possible precaution, you cannot guarantee that a truck driver will always operate his or her big rig in a safe manner. If you or someone you care about has been hurt in a trucking accident, there are multiple legal options available that can help.