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Safe Driving Around Large Trucks

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December 14, 2017
Edward Smith


Safe Driving Around Large Trucks

I’m Ed Smith, a Lodi truck accident lawyer. In California, cargo is moved primarily by truck, approximately three million tons each day. According to the California Department of Transportation, over 5 million commercial trucks and 2 million trailers are registered in the state. Accidents between a semi and a smaller passenger vehicle usually end in injury or death to the motorist. Learning a few ways to practice safe driving near trucks is essential.

No Zones Can Mean Trouble

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, being wary of a truck’s no zones is one of the most important lessons a driver can learn. A no zone is an area that a trucker cannot see when using his mirrors. The right side of the truck has the biggest no zone, extending over two right hand lanes. Due to the truck’s height, a trucker cannot see 20 feet ahead of his or her vehicle and 30 feet directly behind it. The area on the left side a trucker is unable to see is considerably smaller than that on the right and covers only one lane.  A rule of thumb is if you cannot see the trucker in the vehicle’s side mirror, it’s probable the trucker cannot see your vehicle.

Passing a Truck Requires Caution

When it is necessary to pass a big rig, do so on the left. The right has a larger no zone. When you are ready to pass, speed up within the speed limit, and don’t merge again until you have a clear vision of the truck in your mirror. Remember, the truck cannot see you if you cut short within the 20-foot no zone area. Also, it is impossible for a truck to stop if you cut too short. Trucks must have at least one second for every 10 feet of the rig. At roughly 65 mph, it takes a loaded semi about the length of two football fields to stop. Be careful of passing a truck when the road is sloping down. Trucks move faster due to the weight and the pull of gravity. When a truck passes you, slow down if you can. This helps the trucker. Misinterpreting a truck’s speed or driving at an unsafe speed can cause accidents.

Tire Blowouts

Trucks frequently have tire blowouts due to the weight on each tire and the tire’s condition. This can cause roadway debris to fly onto passenger vehicles, especially those next to the truck. To avoid this, don’t drive next to a truck for a prolonged period. Don’t use your high beams when passing either. If caught in the truck’s mirror, they can temporarily blind the driver.

Wide Right Turns Are Dangerous

Because of the truck’s size, they are often forced to make wide turns. If the truck is turning right, the truck’s cab may enter the lane to the left with its turn signal on. Never assume the right lane will be empty though, since the trailer may remain in the right lane. As the turn progresses, the trucker will realign both components. Never try to pass the truck on the right shoulder. Many traumatic accidents result from this maneuver.

Backing Up a Truck

Trucks, particularly those fully loaded, have difficulty backing up. The trucker may turn the cab at a right angle to the trailer to begin the move. At night especially, passenger car drivers may not see the trailer and drive right into it. This can end in an underride accident, where the front of the passenger vehicle slides under the truck. Such crashes usually end in catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injury.

The Effects of High Winds on Trucks

Logic would seem to say that the weight of the truck would stabilize it against high winds. That is not the case. Rather, the truck’s large surface makes it hard to control when wind hits it. In some cases, the truck may sail slightly into an adjacent lane. Drive cautiously and be alert for this.

Lodi Truck Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Lodi truck accident lawyer. Practicing safe driving procedures can help reduce the number of truck accidents. However, despite this, accidents can and do happen. When you are injured in a truck accident or a family member dies, it is wise to turn to an experienced injury lawyer. Call me at (209) 227-1931 locally or (800) 404-5400 nationwide for friendly and free advice.

I’ve been able to help many Northern California residents, including those in Lodi, with wrongful death claims, pedestrian accidents and motorcycle crashes. In each, I worked to procure the highest compensation possible.

I belong to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. This group is restricted to those trial attorneys who have garnered $1 million settlements and verdicts for clients. Look at my verdicts and settlements page to check out some case results.

You might want to know more about my law practice. If so, go to Avvo, Yelp or Google to read comments and reviews., my website, has a comprehensive list of information on personal injury accidents.

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