Driving a tractor-trailer requires tremendous skill, experience and attention. For this reason, truckers must qualify for special commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) in Texas before they can get behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler. In addition, commercial vehicle drivers are subject to stricter rules designed to protect the safety of motorists.
However, drivers face unique challenges when operating extremely large and heavy trucks that put even the most professional, careful driver at risk of an accident. And, alarmingly, too many truck drivers are distracted, intoxicated, impaired by drugs, sleep-deprived, inexperienced, and/or driving too fast so they can bring home a bigger paycheck.
You can take simple steps to avoid a tractor-trailer accident including:
- Do not decelerate suddenly in front of a truck unless necessary: Even an empty tractor-trailer is very heavy and requires a longer time to stop. A fully loaded semi can take a distance of three football fields to stop. By remaining alert to hazards ahead of you, you can slow down gradually so the truck driver has more time to react.
- Let a tailgating trucker pass you: If a semi is following close behind you, move out of the way as soon as it is safe to do so.
- Don’t tailgate an 18-wheeler: Tailgating any vehicle is a bad idea. However, because you cannot see around a tractor-trailer, you may be unaware of heavy traffic, stoplights and other issues that require the truck to brake.
- Be mindful of blind spots: Think about your surprise to realize that a car or motorcycle was travelling in your car’s blind spot. Now imagine this blind spot multiplied several time over on a tractor-trailer. Your car remains out of view while you are behind the truck and as you pass. You do not become visible until you are about parallel to the tractor.
- Be patient — Getting stuck behind a semi can be frustrating, but wait until you can safely pass. These few moments of patience could save your life.
- Be predictable and use your blinker — Avoid making erratic lane-changes and use your blinker to alert the semi driver of your intention to switch lanes. Remember big rigs are not as easily maneuverable as a car and so the driver cannot respond as quickly.
- Pay attention — You have a duty to concentrate on your driving. Using a cellphone, texting or engaging in other activities while driving is always unsafe, but especially while driving around 18-wheelers.
You May Still Be Hit By an 18 Wheeler or Large Commercial Truck
Unfortunately, you may still be hit by a tractor-trailer even if you take every reasonable precaution. Berenson Injury Law regularly handles claims for motorists hurt by negligent commercial truck drivers. Our skilled law firm can help you recover the compensation you deserve from the trucking company and the commercial vehicle driver. Call 817-885-8000 or toll-free at 1-885-801-8585 or email us here to schedule a free consultation with our dedicated Texas Board Certified personal injury attorney.