Taking steps to safely share the road with large commercial trucks may help reduce motorists’ risk of being involved in serious, or fatal, collisions.
Motorists in New York City, and throughout the state, share the roads with commercial vehicles every day. All too often, however, collisions involving these large trucks occur. In fact, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles reported that there were 11,848 large truck collisions in 2014 alone. As a result of such accidents, the drivers and passengers of smaller, passenger vehicles often suffer serious injuries or death. While some commercial truck crashes cannot be avoided, there are things that motorists can do to help safely share the roads, and reduce their risk of being involved in a wreck.
Like other vehicles, semitrailers have blind spots. However, these areas where truckers cannot see other motorists are much larger on commercial vehicles. They extend in the front and the rear of large trucks, as well as in on both sides. Therefore, it is recommended that drivers position their vehicles where they can be seen in large trucks’ side mirrors. This may help ensure that truckers do not inadvertently merge into them. Furthermore, motorists are advised to avoid traveling in tractor-trailers’ blind spots or to minimize the amount of time they spend in them.
Particularly when they are traveling at high rates of speed, commercial trucks commonly create turbulence. For an unprepared motorist, these wind gusts may cause them to lose control of their vehicles, which could result in a serious motor vehicle accident. As such, it is suggested that people keep a firm grip on their steering wheels when passing oncoming trucks, or when large trucks are passing by them.
In addition to having large blind spots on both sides, commercial trucks often require more room to turn. As such, trucks may intrude across other lanes, or the curb while turning. Thus, it is suggested that people refrain from trying to pass trucks that are making turns. The New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee recommends that drivers pull closer to the side of the road, or back up when they at intersections where a truck is turning into oncoming lanes of traffic. This helps ensure that these large vehicles have ample room, and may aid in preventing collisions.
When on the road with tractor-trailers, motorists may need, or want, to pass them. Since it generally takes longer to pass these large trucks than other, smaller vehicles, it is important for drivers to be patient. As such, they should ensure they have plenty of clear road in front of them before moving out to pass.
Semitrailers typically require more room to stop safely. Consequently, they may be unable to stop in time to avoid a crash if motorists cut back in front of them and then have to suddenly stop or slow.
When people in New York, and elsewhere, suffer injuries in trucking accidents, they commonly require extensive medical treatment. As a result, they may incur medical expenses and lost wages. If negligence or carelessness on the part of the truckers, or the trucking companies, contributed to the collision, however, they may be held responsible for the resulting damages. Therefore, those who have experienced situations such as this may benefit from consulting with an attorney to understand their rights and options.