Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Reporting Analysis System (FARS) revealed that in 2018, large truck accidents resulted in 4,136 fatalities. Of this number, 67 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles and only 16 percent were occupants of trucks. Pedestrians, meanwhile, made up 15 percent of the fatalities.
These numbers show that passengers of smaller vehicles are more vulnerable when sharing the road with large or semi-trailer trucks. The latter are 20 to 30 times heavier and go 20 to 40 percent farther than smaller vehicles when braking.
Truck drivers must, of course, observe safe and proper driving techniques when they are on the road. However, drivers of smaller passenger vehicles must also do their part to safely navigate the road when large trucks are around.
Haffner Law has been representing truck accident victims in Los Angeles for years, so we have gathered a few valuable pieces of advice on how to share the road with trucks.
- Stay out of trucks’ blind spots
Because of a truck’s height, width, and length, it has considerable blind spots on all of its sides. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) illustrated trucks’ blind spots, which includes 20 ft in front, a lane on the left side, two lanes on the right side, and 30 ft. behind.
When driving in front of a truck, your rearview mirror can help you determine if you’re in the truck’s blind spot or not. If you can see its windshield in your rearview mirror, the truck driver can see you. The best practice, though, is to keep your distance from a large truck.
- Do not cut in front of a truck
As mentioned earlier, a truck’s stopping distance is about 20 to 40 percent longer than smaller vehicles. What’s more, the front of a truck is a large blind spot. So, if you cut a truck off, it cannot hit the brakes fast enough to prevent colliding with your vehicle’s rear end. In fact, it may not be able to brake at all, because the driver cannot see directly in front of the truck’s bumper so they might not know you’re there.
- Always use your turn signals
If you want to switch to a lane where there’s a truck, you must always use your turn signals three seconds or more before merging. This gives the truck driver time to slow down to allow your vehicle to pass safely. Apart from turn signals, make sure to follow the rearview mirror technique stated above before merging.
- Be mindful of the gap when a truck turns right
Because of a truck’s length, it requires more room to turn. When making a right turn, it may swing wide into the left lane, freeing up the right one. Do not try to squeeze into this free space because it is only temporary while the truck is turning the corner. Once the front turns successfully, the rear part will close in on the free space. If you try squeezing into this gap, you may get stuck between the truck and the curb with nowhere else to turn.
If you followed these tips and observed safe driving practices but you were still involved in a collision with a large truck in Los Angeles, we can help. Haffner Law’s truck accident attorneys can assist you with filing claims so that you can be compensated for the damages resulting from the collision.
Contact 1-844-HAFFNER to speak to an attorney.
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