An accident involving a big rig, semi, or other commercial vehicle can be devastating. Because of the sheer size difference involved, the driver and passengers in the smaller vehicle can sustain serious and even permanently disabling injury. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of being in one of these accidents. Use this checklist to avoid a big rig accident on the freeway:
1. Be Wary of Driver Distraction
The leading cause of commercial vehicle accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is driver error. Truck drivers often spend long hours on the road, and the monotony can contribute to fatigue or distraction. When a driver fails to adhere to driving limits set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, he or she is more likely to cause an accident. Give swerving vehicles a wide berth, and call the local authorities if you feel driver performance poses a hazard to others on the road.
2. Drive for Weather Conditions
We’re approaching the season for inclement weather. While cars may have difficulty gaining traction on wet pavement, trucks experience this with to an even greater extent. Slippery conditions can make big rigs more difficult to handle, so operators of passenger vehicles must be aware of this hazard and act accordingly. Defensive driving and allowing a safe following distance are two ways that drivers can reduce their risk, as is avoiding driving directly beside a big rig on the freeway.
3. Be Wary of Blind Spots
Truck drivers blind spots are bigger, simply because of the size of the cab behind them. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t see their rearview mirrors, they cannot see you. Make an effort to stay out of a driver’s blind spot and don’t follow a big rig too closely. Drivers can contribute to tractor trailer accidents when they cut in front of the truck, follow closely behind, or catch a driver off guard by merging into a blind spot.
4. Keep Up With Routine Maintenance
Another leading cause of truck accidents are crashes resulting from lack of proper maintenance. These include things like tire blowouts, improper load distribution, and more. While you can’t account for another driver’s actions on the road, you can keep up with your own vehicle’s maintenance. Before hitting the freeway, ensure that your tires are inflated to a proper pressure and check your wipers and fluid levels to maximize your visibility.
5. React Appropriately
We’re all prone to becoming emotional from time to time, especially on the roadway. Whether a bad day at work is following you home or traffic has your nerves on edge, we all experience bad commutes. It’s important, however, to maintain your cool at these times. Keeping a level head and refraining from road rage can make the difference between making it home safe and being in an accident.
Big rig accidents are serious with implications that can last a lifetime. Use these tips to stay safe on area freeways and reduce your risk of a crash.