Eyes on the Road: 5 Tips for How to Drive Defensively Against Trucks

With summer just around the corner, many people will be hitting the road for vacation. For many people, this will mean increased time on the road with large trucks. While we all have equal driving rights, it’s important to know how to appropriately share the road with tractor-trailers. By knowing how to share the road, we can work together to decrease fatalities.

In 2014, Oregon had 474 accidents involving tractor-trailers. Of those, 31 had fatalities. Click here to see the average in other states, and use our five tips to help you prepare for driving around the country this summer.

  1. Stay out of their blind spot.

Just as all automobiles have a blind spot, so do tractor-trailers. The difference is that their blind spot is much larger than a car’s. Because of this, they are unable to turn their heads to ensure that there’s no one beside them. Instead, truck drivers rely on several well-positioned mirrors.

If you stay in a truck’s blind spot, they will not be able to see you when they change lanes. That’s why it’s important that, if you’re passing a truck, you pass its blind spots as quickly and safely as possible.

  1. Don’t cut off a tractor-trailer.

These large trucks are heavy. Because of this, when they apply the brakes, it may take a while to get the truck to a complete stop. This means that if you cut off a truck and apply your brakes, you’re greatly increasing the odds that you’ll be in an accident.

Your best bet is to make sure that you give a tractor-trailer plenty of room when you move in front of them. The rule of thumb is that it’s safe to move into their lane if you can see both of their headlights in your rearview mirror.

  1. Don’t slam on your brakes.

Again, because tractor-trailers are so heavy, if you slam on your brakes, they will not be able to stop. Most likely, they will hit you. Whether you’re in a car or truck, you don’t want to be rear-ended by a tractor-trailer.

Be sure to pay attention to the flow of traffic in front of you. Try to stay mindful about decelerating as traffic slows. Avoid driving like everything is either gas or brake.

  1. Don’t drive too closely behind tractor-trailers.

Make sure that you don’t drive right behind a tractor-trailer. First, if you’re too close behind a them, you’re in a blind spot. You don’t ever want to be in a tractor-trailer’s blind spot. Second, their tires will sometimes kick up debris like small rocks. This can chip or crack your windshield. Also, when it’s raining, being too close behind a big truck can make it extremely challenging to see.

Finally, accidents happen. Tires blow out. If you’re right behind the truck, you may not have enough time to move out of the way of the debris. This could cause an accident.

  1. Stay alert.

Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Notice the other cars and trucks that you’re sharing the road with. Anticipate when tractor-trailers are going to need to change lanes to avoid an accident (such as when they pass another tractor-trailer or when new traffic is merging on to the highway). Do your best to be a thoughtful and considerate driver.

We hope these tips help you have travel safer over the summer. However, if you are injured in an automobile accident, feel free to contact us. We’re here for anyone who has been injured in an accident in Oregon. Our expert lawyers are ready to answer any questions you may have. Give us a call today at (503) 543-4800 to learn how we can help.

Written by Clarke Griffin

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