Sharing the Road With 18 Wheelers: 5 Tips from a Dallas Truck Wreck Lawyer

You’re in the rush to get your holiday shopping started and you hit gridlock. To make matters worse, there seem to be semi-trucks all around you taking up the lanes and blocking your vantage point of the road. It can get frustrating quickly when you just want to get safely from point A to point B. We understand what you’re feeling.

Navigating the roads can be particularly stressful during this time of year, amid the hustle and bustle of holiday travelers, teens enjoying Christmas break, and everyone rushing to check off their holiday lists. Driving can feel extra hectic with increased traffic especially sharing the road with large commercial trucks who are also hustling to deliver their goods.

Take a deep breath and follow these safe driving tips from our experienced Dallas truck wreck lawyers at the Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for a more joyful holiday season.

Maintain a safe distance between your car and an 18-wheeler

One word of advice: don’t tailgate a truck. The cargo alone on fully loaded trucks may weigh up to 80,000 pounds while the average car weighs in at 4,000 pounds. These larger vehicles demand more time and space for stopping and maneuvering, emphasizing the need to provide ample room. A simple guideline is to keep a six-second following distance between your car and the truck.

Additionally, it’s wise to avoid driving alongside a semi-truck for extended periods, minimizing the risk of accidents due to close proximity. Potential hazards, such as tire blowouts, pose a threat, and maintaining distance reduces the risk of debris hitting your vehicle.

Stay out of a truck’s blind spots or no-zones

If you remember anything from driver’s ed classes, you should know that trucks have considerable blind spots you ought to stay out of! These are areas around the truck where the driver cannot see you and are often referred to as the no-zones. Steer clear of the front, rear, and both sides of the tractor to the front of the trailer, as being in these areas significantly heightens the risk of a collision. It’s best to avoid these areas altogether, but if you need to pass, do so quickly and safely.

Side No-Zone:

The blind spot on the right side of a truck spans the entire trailer length. To avoid this blind spot, pass trucks on the left when possible, as truck drivers anticipate vehicles on that side. While there is also a left-side blind spot, drivers are trained to expect passing on the left.

Front No-Zone:

Due to elevated cabs, especially on older designs, truck drivers can’t see cars directly in front. The blind spot extends about 20 feet ahead. Merging right in front of a truck poses a high crash risk, as the hood may block the view.

Rear No-Zone:

This no-zone reaches nearly 200 feet from the truck’s back. Tailgating obstructs the truck driver’s view, emphasizing the need to stay sufficiently behind. Maintaining distance ensures visibility in the truck’s side-view mirrors.

Determining whether you’re in a blind spot can be challenging, but here’s a reliable method. If you can see the truck driver’s face in their side mirrors, they can see you, indicating you’re not in a blind spot. Conversely, if the driver’s face is not visible in the mirrors, they are most likely unaware of your presence beside or behind them. Always ensure visibility of the driver’s face for added safety.

Don’t cut off a truck

It’s understandable why people do it. Trucks are big and oftentimes slow, and it can be tempting to try to get around them quickly. But it’s a dangerous move you shouldn’t risk your life or others on the road for. As we mentioned, trucks have large blind spots on both sides. That means that if you’re in one of those spots, the driver may not be able to see you. And if the driver can’t see you, they might not be able to avoid hitting you. You might not be aware of this but it can take a truck driver nearly two football field lengths to come to a full stop.

Trucks are also less stable than cars due to their higher center of gravity, which means they’re more likely to tip over if they make a sudden stop or turn. Cutting them off suddenly could be a dangerous move to everyone if they can’t react to your move in time.

Anticipate a truck driver’s movements

Anticipate a truck driver’s movements and practice defensive driving when sharing the road with commercial vehicles. These larger vehicles have an extended stopping distance, making them prone to slowing down or stopping more abruptly than smaller cars. Also, if you see that the truck is attempting to turn, remember that it may require two lanes for a wide turn. If you observe a tractor-trailer signaling a lane change or turn, you should proactively provide them with ample room and refrain from making sudden movements, ensuring a safer driving experience for both you and the commercial vehicle.

Signal early and often

When you’re driving alongside a truck and need to change lanes or turn, make sure you signal well in advance. It takes a truck longer to slow down or change lanes than it does a car — up to 40% longer according to some estimates. And be sure to use your turn signals even if there are no other cars around — truck drivers may not be able to see your car if it’s in their blind spot.

By following these tips, you can share the road safely with 18-wheelers this holiday season and throughout the year. However, if you find yourself in a collision with a truck, seeking assistance from an experienced Dallas truck wreck lawyer is an important first step to safeguarding your rights and securing the compensation you deserve.

Sharing the Road With 18 Wheelers: 5 Tips from a Dallas Truck Wreck Lawyer

Hit by A Truck? Contact Dallas Truck Accident Attorneys at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare

If a truck accident ends up wrecking your holiday plans this season, don’t hesitate to contact the Dallas truck wreck lawyers at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare. Whether you or someone you know has sustained injuries in such an incident, you may be entitled to compensation, which can help ease the financial burden of medical bills or your vehicle replacement. Reach out to us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to explore all of your legal options.