June 15, 2019
People driving cars can get easily frustrated at semi-truck drivers. Traveling at a slower speed in a passing lane, making wide turns and taking time backing up are things that many of us have been inpatient with at one time or another when we’re in a hurry to get somewhere.
Conversely, the opposite is also true.
Semi-truck drivers have plenty of complaints about the car drivers they share the streets and highways with. To avoid added stress on the roads, keep in mind these facts about semi-trucks and their drivers.
Semi-trucks can only go so fast
Some trucks, especially the larger and heavier ones, can’t go as fast as most cars on the highway. Some max out at 65 miles per hour, which is slower than the 70-mile-per-hour, speed limit found on highways in Indiana. Be mindful that the truck may not be able to go faster than it is, especially if it is passing another vehicle and temporarily slowing down the left lane.
If you pass, do it quickly (and on the left)
Car drivers know all about the blind spot. It’s that space near the rear of your car where the mirror won’t show an oncoming vehicle, and you also can’t see it by looking directly to your left or right.
Due to the size of semi-trucks (plus the fact that there is no rear-view mirror), the blind spot is lengthened, so if you’re going to pass a truck, do it quickly. Do not ride alongside a semi-truck since there’s a good chance the driver won’t be able to see you.
Also, only pass trucks on the left. Drivers are more accustomed to watch for passing vehicles in the left-hand lane rather than the right.
You might see a placard on the back of a truck that reads, “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you.” Heed that advice.
It takes longer for trucks to stop
Be careful not to cut off a semi-truck, especially if you’re approaching stopped traffic. Even an alert driver with a perfectly maintained truck requires more distance than your car to come to a stop. Also, consider the fact that many trucks on the road need service or, in some cases, may not be fit to be on the road. That could lead to worn breaks or total break failure. A driver may also be tired or looking at his GPS, which could slow his or her reaction time. The bottom line: give the truck enough space to come to a stop.
Don’t assume a truck will make a perfect turn
Even the most expert semi-truck driver is not in complete control of his trailer during a turn. This is called “off-tracking,” meaning the trailer will not follow the same path of the cab when it makes a turn. The back of a trailer can easily drift into a neighboring lane while the turn is taking place, so even if it requires you to stop for an extra moment, give a turning truck some extra space and time to complete the maneuver.
Truck drivers are people too
Regular car drivers should exhibit some patience when dealing with the shortcomings of these semi-trucks. Remember that some of the things a semi-truck can’t do isn’t the fault of the driver. Also, be mindful that the driver is likely on a tight deadline, puts in long hours and is away from his family for days at a time while he earns a living.
Given their size, truck accidents can be devastating, particularly for smaller cars that are involved. If you or a loved one is involved in an accident involving a semi-truck, call Stewart & Stewart. We know what it takes to find the responsible parties and get our clients the money they deserve. We will work hard to get that for you. For more information, give your Indiana Truck Accident Lawyer a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website today.