safety tips for driving with tractor trailers

Safety Tips for Driving With Tractor Trailers

Every day we share the road with other cars, trucks, pedestrians, cyclists, and tractor trailers. Most of the time, we happily coexist between the lines and arrive at our destination safely. However, the consequences of a collision can be catastrophic, especially if the accident happens with a tractor-trailer. So, what can you do to stay safe while sharing the road with large vehicles?

Limit Distractions

While you cannot control the distraction levels of other drivers, you can limit distractions in your car. Never use your phone while you are driving. Instead, put it in airplane mode or silent until you reach your destination, so you are not tempted to take a quick peek. Don’t eat, put on makeup or use headphones while you drive so you can focus completely on what you are doing.

Mind Your Following Distance

Tractor trailers cannot stop as quickly or maneuver as well as smaller vehicles. Newton’s second law of motion is force is equal to the product of mass and acceleration. This means that an object with greater mass, like a tractor trailer, will have to exert more force to come to a complete stop. In other words, tractor trailers need more distance to come to a complete stop. Avoid following too closely, cutting in front of a tractor-trailer or stopping abruptly with a tractor-trailer close behind you.

Pass Quickly

Today’s vehicles are equipped with mirrors and sensors that minimize blind spots. Even with larger mirrors, tractor trailers have blind spots that prevent drivers from seeing vehicles sitting in their sides. The rule of thumb for passing a tractor-trailer is that if you cannot see the truck’s mirrors, they cannot see you. However, this is not a guarantee that the driver will check their blind spots for vehicles before turning or changing lanes. If you must pass a tractor-trailer, do so quickly, paying extra attention to whether the driver is turning or changing lanes.

Exit the Freeway in an Emergency

One of the most dangerous times on a freeway is the time you spend on the shoulder, waiting for help. If you are experiencing mechanical problems, try your best to make it to an exit ramp rather than pulling to the side of the freeway. You will be able to access help more readily while keeping yourself, your passengers and your vehicle safe. If you cannot avoid pulling to the side of a busy road, be sure to turn on your hazard lights. It is also wise to keep road flares and safety cones in your trunk for such an emergency. When you increase your visibility, other drivers, including tractor-trailer drivers, can take precautions to help you stay safe.

Even if you engage in these safety precautions, sometimes an accident with a tractor-trailer is unavoidable. If you have been involved in a truck accident, let the truck accident lawyers at The Elan Law Firm help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today!