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Tips for safely sharing the highway with big rigs

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2023 | Semi Truck Crashes |

Over 12 million large commercial vehicles – including semi trucks and buses – are registered across the United States. While large trucks account for just 4% of all vehicles, they are involved in 9% of all fatal motor vehicle crashes, according to the National Safety Council.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the trucking industry, says nearly three out of four deaths involve occupants of other vehicles. Big rigs are more dangerous due to their size, large blind spots and limited maneuverability. Therefore, it’s essential for you to focus on safety when traveling near them.

Rules for safely sharing the road

FMCSA’s mission is to reduce accidents involving trucks and buses. The federal agency oversees half a million trucking companies, 4 million commercial driver’s licenses and over 4,000 bus companies. While they focus on developing and enforcing regulations, they urge motorists to follow these rules to reduce the chance of accidents:

  • Passing a big rig: Be sure you see the trucker in the driver’s side mirror, signal clearly, and accelerate to make the pass as soon as possible. Never pass a truck on the right side.
  • Blind spots: Trucks and buses have large blind spots around the vehicle’s sides, back and front. Never drive in a blind spot. Take extra caution when merging next to a big rig in traffic.
  • Watch for wide turns: Large trucks require much more space to turn. Some will swing wide into a middle lane before turning. Give them extra space when their turn signal is blinking.
  • Do not tailgate: Following too closely behind a truck can have tragic consequences if the driver hits the brakes and you don’t see it in time. A semi’s rear bumper can be about the same height as a car’s windshield.
  • Cutting in front: As mentioned above, one of a truck’s blind spots is directly in front. The driver can lose sight of you if you cut it too close. Continue in the left lane until you are several car lengths in front before returning to the right lane.

Other safety tips involve common sense anytime you’re on the road, such as wearing your seat belt, avoiding alcohol and staying focused. All these actions reduce the chances of being in an accident and minimizing injuries. If you are in a crash involving a large truck, it’s a good idea to talk to an experienced lawyer, as several parties may be held responsible.