How to Drive Safely Around Semi Trucks in Atlanta This Summer
No matter where you drive in Atlanta, chances are that you will come into be sharing the road with a semi truck for at least part of your journey. This is especially true if you drive on highways. Knowing how to drive safely around these large trucks can help prevent an accident.
A collision with a semi truck is especially serious due to the power a semi truck packs behind its wheels. These vehicles often way several tons when loaded with cargo. This means that your passenger vehicle is no match for a truck in an accident. While some accidents are certainly caused by trucker drivers, many are the result of error on the part of the vehicle driver. Here are some tips as you head out onto the road this summer.
1. Extra Space
Space is key when it comes to driving near a semi. Whether you are in front of the truck or behind it, giving it ample amounts of room can help prevent an accident. Remember that a truck needs more time that you do to come to a complete stop. This means that you could easily be rear-ended if you come to an emergency stop in front of one of these large vehicles.
Likewise, if you are following a truck too closely, you may not have time to stop if the truck does. If you can’t stop, you may find yourself under the back end of the trailer. Try to keep at least 50 feet between you and the semi ahead of you. Hang even farther back if you can.
A semi truck also needs extra space to turn. Your smaller vehicle can take corners fairly easily with a tight turn radius. The same is not true of a semi. If you see a truck that is attempting to turn ahead of you or toward you, give them room to do so.
2. No Zones
Trucks have no zones all around. What’s a no zone? It’s a blind spot. You have blind spots on either side of your vehicle that are fairly close to the car’s body. All you have to do is turn your head quickly to make sure no one is there. A truck driver doesn’t have that luxury.
If you are on the left side of a semi, the truck driver cannot see you if you are in the adjacent lane. If you are on the right side of the truck, the driver can’t see you unless there are two lanes between you. There are also blind spots in the front and back of the truck that extend for dozens of feet.
A good rule of thumb is to look for the driver’s eyes in their side mirror or in your rearview mirror when you are passing. The truck driver can’t see you if you can’t see their eyes. Get yourself out of a no zone as quickly as possible to avoid being struck when the trucker changes lanes or navigates a turn.
3. Avoid Blowouts
How many times have you driven down the highway and seen scraps of rubber scattered along the side that obviously came from a semi? Very few of us have actually seen a blowout occur, but we’ve all seen the aftermath. Imagine being on the side of a semi when the blowout happens.
If you find yourself stuck alongside a semi, get ahead of it as quickly and safely as you can. If you are considering passing a semi, only do so if you are sure that you can get ahead of it without getting stuck next to it. A tire blowout could damage your car, not to mention cause an accident.
4. Pass Safely
Never cut a semi off. No matter how irritated you may be while behind the wheel, passing a semi and then cutting in front of it closely to prove a point is never a wise move. If you are going to pass a semi, wait until you can see the driver’s face in your rearview mirror before moving in front of it.
A truck cannot stop as quickly as you can, and you never know what type of hazard may pop up as soon as you get in front of the truck. Be respectful of the vehicle’s size and limited maneuverability.
5. Stay Alert
Here is a fact: Distracted driving kills. Put your cell phone down. Eat breakfast before you leave the house. Fix your hair when you get to the office. Quiet down the kids in the back seat. All of these things can be distracting and lead to an accident. Always remember that you job when you are behind the wheel is to operate your car in as safe a manner as possible.
It’s not unusual for people to feel nervous about driving near a semi truck and with good reason. These powerful vehicles can cause catastrophic injuries and property damage in an accident. If you find yourself sharing the highway with a semi truck, use the tips above to help ensure your safety and that of other drivers on the road.
Speak with an Atlanta Semi Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you are in an accident with a semi truck in Atlanta and the truck driver is found to be at fault, you may have the elements necessary for a successful personal injury case. Reach out to our office today to schedule a free case evaluation. We will discuss your accident with you, advise you of your legal options and help you make the best decisions for moving forward.