NOT ALL HERO’S WEAR CAPES
BUCKLE UP, IT’S THE LAW.
- In the year of 2010, 3,413 people died in accidents involving large trucks. 475 of of those 3,413 deaths reported were the truck drivers.
- In the year of 2015, 11% of motor vehicle accident deaths involved a collision with a large truck.
It has been reported on average each year that 130,000 car accidents involve trucks. This is a statistic we want to see decrease if not disappear entirely. The truck accident attorneys at Fisher & Talwar want to lend a hand in preventing truck accidents by making everyone aware of the problem and inspire them to do their part in making and keeping the roads a safer place.
AVOID DRIVING IN THE “NO ZONES”
Every car has two blind spots, which is an area of the vehicle that prohibits full vision of surrounding traffic. When it comes to 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, and semi-trucks, they each have four blind spots also referred too as the “no-zones”.
- Just behind the left and right mirrors
- Directly behind the truck
- Directly in front of the truck
After a semi truck driver checks on surrounding traffic and feels it is safe to merge into another lane, it is possible they will merge into your lane unaware of your presence in their blind spot. It is important that each driver know and understand where the “no-zones” are located on semi trucks and avoid coasting in them for extended periods of time. The drivers of semi trucks honestly can’t see your smaller vehicle in comparison when you are in the “no-zones”, which can, has, and will cause an accident.
In our cartoon depiction of driving in the “no-zone” we show just how quickly an accident can occur. Though dramatized a bit, history proves time and time again that the best practices when driving around large trucks is to know your surroundings and drive defensively. Even though you can see them, they may not always see you.
SEMI TRUCKS TAKE LONGER TO SLOW DOWN
A basic 18-wheeler or semi trailer can weigh up too 80,000 lbs maximum by law. Compared to most passenger vehicles weighing in at around 4,000 lbs, that’s a 95% difference in weight!
Imagine if a driver of a semi truck and the driver of a common passenger vehicle are traveling down a highway at 75mph and were to slam on their breaks at the exact same time, it would take the semi truck nearly double the amount of distance, if not more, to come to a complete stop than it would the passenger vehicle. Please keep this in mind as you share the road, be patient when driving, and avoid possible road rage or fatal accidents by NOT cutting off semi trucks.
Let us clarify, it is ok to pass trucks in traffic but at the right time. When you need to pass a semi truck make sure there is at least one car length between you and the semi truck to keep your vehicle visible. Our cartoon depiction of a passenger car cutting off a semi truck at a stop light may seem a tad over dramatized, but it is not too far from the truth. Remain patient of other vehicles. Strive to drive defensively. Be courteous of others and we can all contribute to keeping our roads safer.
NEVER TAILGATE A SEMI TRUCK
There are several reasons why you shouldn’t follow an 18-wheeler, tractor trailer, or semi truck too closely. When following too closely and traffic comes to a sudden stop for whatever reason be it road construction, a flat tire or blow-out, weather conditions, or an accident, you and your passengers are the ones at risk. In these situations, you do not have the reflexes or time to respond accordingly. And trust us, if your vehicle collides with the back of a semi, the odds are not in your favor. The semi most likely wont even feel the impact of your vehicle but you sure will.
Keep aware of your surroundings and allow the proper distance between you and the vehicle ahead. The best method to follow is the “3-second rule”. Choose a focal point that is parallel to the semi in front of you such as a road sign or a building and count the seconds from the time the semi passes it until your vehicle passes it. If you are under three seconds, then you are following too closely. Please be careful and practice the 3-second rule in order to avoid a collision or a potential pile-up. This could very well save your life.
ALLOW EXTRA SPACE FOR SEMIS TO TAKE WIDE TURNS
In the crowded, busy streets of LA it is all too common to see bumper to bumper traffic. But when you find yourself driving near and around 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, or semi trucks, please remember to allow them extra space. Everyone is in a hurry to get to their desired destination and crowding the surrounding traffic won’t make them move any faster.
When a semi truck is needing to make a turn and you or the surrounding traffic do not allow proper space or room needed for the driver of the truck to maneuver, you can pretty much guarantee someone is going to loose a bumper, side mirror, or even cause traffic to come to a complete stop.
If everyone were to practice courteous and basic traffic safety while driving, it would potentially speed up traffic due to less accidents caused by the negligence of others.
TAKE PRECAUTIONS FOR POSSIBLE BLACK ICE
Even when your most trusted weather reporter predicts a bright sunny day, Mother Nature can still change her mind in an instant. It’s common these days to expect the unexpected when it comes to the weather.
Even during the largest snow storm of the year, your day to day obligations still require attention. Because not everyone’s boss allows them to stay home drinking hot coco and temporarily forget their responsibilities while a blizzard brings down its wrath on a weekday, it is important that everyone understand and practice safe driving techniques on ice covered roads.
Be sure to allow more than enough distance between you and other vehicles. Plan ahead when coming to a stop or accelerating in case of ice. Leave the house early to allow yourself plenty of time to get to your desired destination.
DRIVING AGAINST STRONG SIDE WINDS
Head and tail winds are less noticeable to travelers but when a side wind picks up it can make even the most experienced driver a little nervous. If the wind is strong enough, it can even blow you and your vehicle off the road. If you ever feel your vehicle swaying off course due to high winds do not panic. Gently steer your wheel in the opposite direction correcting your course. Do not turn your wheel suddenly or you may possibly overcorrect causing your vehicle to roll. Gradually make smooth, gentle corrections opposing the wind.
If you do find yourself traveling in the mix of high side winds and want to pass a semi trailer, please weigh your options and cautiously make that decision after observing your surroundings and how much control the semi appears to have when also battling high winds. Strong side winds have been known to tip over trailers from the semi itself and the odds dramatically fincrease when a trailer is empty.
Be alert of your surroundings and drive defensively.
HYDROPLANING & BLURRED VISION ON WET ROADS
When there is heavy rain it can be terrifying to pass an 18-wheeler or to have an 18-wheeler pass you on the highway. In some cases, even having your windshield wipers going at full speed wont combat the spray of water that each tire throws in your vision. In this scenario, things can quickly escalade into an incredibly dangerous situation.
How to avoid hydroplaning:
- Reduce your speed during heavy rain.
- Make sure your tires have recently been rotated and balanced before traveling.
- Don’t set your vehicle on cruise control.
- Avoid driving through puddles.
- Avoid passing other vehicles including semis if possible.
How to recover from hydroplaning:
- Remove your foot from the gas peddle.
- Gently turn your wheel into the direction your vehicle is spinning. A good way to remember what that means is to keep your wheels facing the road ahead.
CAUTION FOLLOWING TOO CLOSE WHEN DRIVING UP HILL
18-wheelers, tractor trailers, semi-trucks can be hauling up to 80,000 lbs. Because of the tremendous weight a truck is pulling, the truck will slow down when on an incline. Surrounding traffic must be patient when following a truck up a hill. If a truck happens to be in the wrong gear when driving up hill it can cause the truck to stall ending in a complete stop and possibly a collision. If you are in a hurry and struggle practicing patience, either plan ahead and pass them prior to the incline or keep calm and slow down while they make their way up the hill.
We must also take precaution when following a semi uphill and allow room for human error. It has been known for cargo to come loose and fall out of trailers causing devastating wrecks. This is why CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance) was organized. This is a nonprofit organization made up of local, state, and federal motor carrier safety officials who conduct roadside checks of semi trucks, 18-wheelers, and tractor trailers.
Signs to watch for:
- Faulty tie-downs.
- Improperly loaded cargo.
- Cargo that is stacked too high.
- Loose cargo