If you have ever felt uneasy when driving next to a semi-truck, you are not alone. In a survey conducted by Esurance on common driving phobias, 20 percent of people reported feeling anxious when driving near large trucks.
While many car drivers do their best to be mindful of large trucks, others are still not aware of the many challenges truck drivers must overcome to safely share the road. In a study that examined fatal car-truck crashes to determine fault, the car drivers were at fault in 81 percent of the crashes.
By understanding the obstacles truck drivers face on the road and why they pose a threat, you can avoid a dangerous or potentially deadly semi-truck collision.
Trucks have more blind spots
Semi-trucks have blind spots, or “no zones,” on all four sides. In a no zone, your car completely disappears from the truck driver’s view. A good rule of thumb for driving near trucks is if you cannot see the driver in the truck’s side mirror, they cannot see you because you are in a no zone.
If you are driving in a no zone, slow down or speed up so you are once again visible to the driver. You will also want to practice extra caution while merging to ensure the driver sees you.
Trucks take longer to stop
Because of their size and weight, semi-trucks need more space to come to stop than the average car. In fact, it is estimated that a fully-loaded 18-wheeler traveling 60 mph needs the length of a football field to come to a full stop.
For this reason, it is critical that you not cut in front of a semi or assume it can stop immediately. A semi-truck can weigh up to 40 tons, whereas the average car weighs only 2 tons. There’s no question who will face more damage in the event of a crash, if a semi cannot stop in time.
Trucks can cause underride or override
Unlike most motor vehicle accidents where one car crashes into another, a car-truck collision can result in underride or override depending on the nature of the accident. Both scenarios can lead to severe outcomes for car drivers.
If you rear-end a truck, you put yourself at risk of underride, or sliding under the truck’s trailer upon impact. If a truck rear-ends you, there is a risk that the vehicle could override, or go on top of your vehicle upon impact.
Semi-trucks are intimidating to share the road with, but many truck accidents are avoidable. By staying alert and keeping your distance, you can help yourself to prevent a devastating truck accident in the future.