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The Unique Road Dangers of Trucks

Posted in Blog on May 4, 2015

Every driver at one point or another has driven near a commercial truck on the road and felt the sudden urge to be alert and cautious. The sheer size of a commercial truck, which can legally weigh as much as 85,000 pounds in Colorado, dwarfs just about every other vehicle with which it shares the road.

Fortunately, truck drivers are experienced, highly trained, subject to federal regulations and oversight, and perform their jobs well. Unfortunately, some truck drivers still become a danger on the road despite their advanced drivers training, as seen in the case of Gary Lammert.

The 50-year-old driver’s negligence caused an accident that took the life of Katie Binning, just 22 years of age, in Wisconsin. Prior to that incident, Lammert had been involved in three other accidents in Colorado, and his trucking company’s license had been revoked two different times by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

While there are systems in place to protect other drivers from being the victims of crashes involving a commercial truck, it is not full proof, as Lammert’s case clearly demonstrates. By following some basic safety rules anytime you drive near a commercial vehicle, you can help keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Tips for Driving Near a Commercial Truck

Although the sizes and features of commercial trucks vary widely, there is a universal list of what not to do when you’re driving close to one. Some important rules of thumb to keep in mind are:

  • Don’t give into road rage. Getting mad and reacting accordingly can increase the chances of an accident, as it will cloud your thinking and might lead to an altercation with the truck driver. If you think a truck driver is being too aggressive, take down the license plate and vehicle numbers and report the driver to the authorities.
  • Avoid driving too close. According to State Farm, you should stay at least 20 car lengths back if you are behind a tractor-trailer.
  • Don’t forget the blind spots, which are on the side, rear and truck-trailer connecting points on a commercial truck. If the driver cannot see you, it’s a potentially unsafe situation, especially if you want to pass. The general rule is that if you are unable to see the mirrors on the truck, the driver is likely unable to see you.
  • Avoid skipping the turn signals. Whenever you can, signal what you’re about to do to the truck driver. By knowing what you’re planning to do, the driver can take the necessary steps to ensure that you have enough space and clearance.
  • Steer clear of erratic or last-second movements. Speeding, abrupt lane changes and other sudden moves won’t give the truck driver enough time to react safely and can cause an accident. Remember, truck drivers cannot stop on a dime as automobile drivers can.

Don’t hesitate to report unsafe truck drivers to their employers, the local police, and state and federal authorities. If you don’t take action, that truck driver may cause an accident and injure or kill someone in the near future. Learn more at: www.zanerhardenlaw.com.

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