Accidents involving large trucks are one of the most devastating types of motor vehicle accidents. This is simply because of the sheer size and weight of these vehicles, when they collide with another vehicle it can be catastrophic. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has numerous interstate highways that are seemingly flooded with tractor trailers. Therefore, it is crucial that Pennsylvania drivers understand how to drive safely around these vehicles to avoid a debilitating accident. Here are four ways to stay safe when driving next to a semi-truck.

Avoid Blind Spots

Semi-trucks have much larger blind spots than other vehicles. The best policy is to avoid their blindspots so that your vehicle stays visible to the driver. Blindspots on semi-trucks include:

  • 30 feet behind the truck
  • 20 feet in front of the truck
  • Driver’s side lane from the front of the truck to halfway down the trailer
  • The passenger side of the truck for two lanes

Avoiding these areas can ensure that the truck doesn’t collide with your vehicle when merging or changing lanes. It will also make sure that they see your vehicle, so they take precautions to avoid hitting you.

Give The Truck Extra Space

As trucks are much larger, it takes longer for them to accelerate and to stop. They also take very wide turns, often taking up two or more full lanes. Furthermore, semi-trucks are more vulnerable to certain road hazards than other vehicles. For example, high winds can cause tipping and rollovers. They can jackknife if required to stop quickly. They also can experience tire blowouts. This can lead the truck to swerve, brake suddenly, or even tip. The blown tire can also get trapped under your vehicle or smash into your windshield. So when driving near a semi-truck always keep your distance.

Always Use Your Signals

As trucks are larger, they have a longer response time. So not only should you always use your signals to communicate your actions, make sure to use them as early as possible. The more time the truck driver has to know that you are changing lanes or turning, the more time they have to allow you space.

Exercise Extreme Caution When Passing

Trucks and/or Tractor-Trailers need more time to adjust to changes, so it is important that when you do pass you are extra cautious. Always signal your intent and try to only pass on the left hand side. Truck drivers have more visibility of the left lane than the right lane. If the truck is going up or down a hill, wait until you are back on flat land to pass. Truck speeds vary greatly on elevation, so it’s best to just give them time. Finally, if a truck is passing you, move to the right, slow down slightly and maintain your speed. This will give the truck more time to pass and keep you safe during the change.

What To Do If You Are In A Semi-Truck Accident In Pennsylvania

Even the most cautious, defensive drivers sometimes end up in a collision with a semi-truck. In these cases, the first thing you need to do is get to safety. Semi-trucks tend to drive mostly on highways and interstates. If you can, pull off to the side of the road out of the way of traffic. If you or your passengers are injured, contact an ambulance and seek medical attention immediately.

Your health and safety are the most important things, so all the rest can wait in the case of injuries. Next, contact the police to file a report. Then exchange contact information with the truck driver. Then call your insurance company to report the accident. Make sure though to avoid any details that could be used against you later down the line. Just stick to the facts. Finally, contact an attorney. Semi-truck accidents are far more complicated than automobile accidents, so you will need the help of a legal expert.

Our skilled attorneys at O’Malley & Perry Law specialize in truck accidents. We’ll review your accident and determine all the at-fault parties. Then we will calculate your damages and pursue a fair settlement. Give us a call at one of our Northeast Pennsylvania Office a call for a free case review and learn how we can help.



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