As online shopping becomes more common, customers are receiving more packages at home and at work. This means that there are more delivery trucks on the road than ever before. Drivers need to exercise caution when they share the road with delivery trucks, especially when they are in crowded cities with heavy traffic or on narrow residential streets. As delivery truck drivers make their rounds, they can easily become distracted by the many tasks they need to complete. Delivery truck drivers need to stop and exit their vehicles, open doors and hatches, and make scans to deliver packages. These activities can inadvertently create dangerous conditions for other drivers. If you find yourself near a delivery truck, you’ll want to exercise caution and stay alert to stay safe. Practicing safe driving tactics can also keep you out of harm’s way. Read on for tips that will help you avoid experiencing an accident whenever you encounter a delivery truck.
How to Drive Safely Near Delivery Trucks
Avoid Blind Spots
Delivery trucks have large bodies, and their size creates blind spots on each side at the back of the vehicle. The driver will not be able to see other vehicles that are in these blind spots. If one of you tries to make a turn, merge, or change lanes, the risk of a collision increases. When you’re on the road, make sure the driver can see you in their rearview mirror.
When you’re on the road, make sure to give delivery trucks plenty of space. Maintaining a safe distance gives you time to react to the traffic around you and brake without endangering yourself or other drivers.
Make Space as You Follow the Truck
As you follow a truck, keep your distance. If you’re too close to the back of the truck’s body, the driver may not be able to see you. If the truck stops suddenly, you could find yourself in a rear-end accident.
Make Space as the Truck Turns
When a truck is turning, be cautious. Trucks need room to maneuver. If you’re driving too close to the side of the truck, your own vehicle could get clipped or pinned between the truck and another object.
Make Space as You Move Around the Truck
If you need to move past a truck, make sure the area is clear. A large or fast-moving delivery truck may not be able to stop quickly if you pull out in front of it.
Pass With Caution
When you are passing a delivery truck, make sure you can see the driver in your rearview mirror. Check for pedestrians and approaching traffic to make sure you have time and space to pass. Switch on your turn signal, and maintain or slightly increase your speed as you pass on the truck’s left side, where the driver can see you. Give the truck extra space as you move forward, and only change lanes when you are several feet in front of it.
It’s important to stay focused when you’re driving. When you see a delivery truck, or drive along a delivery route, stay alert and vigilant. Distractions can easily cause accidents, so keep your hands on the wheel. Don’t text, adjust your radio or GPS, or reach for snacks when you’re driving in traffic, and keep conversation to a minimum until you’re in the clear. If you need to make adjustments, find a place to pull over and stop your vehicle.
Don’t Drive While Impaired
Alcohol, drugs, and fatigue can impair your judgment and slow down your reaction time. If you get bored, drowsy, or dizzy, you can easily lose focus. If you encounter a delivery driver in a similar state, you could easily find yourselves in a collision. Make sure you are alert and aware as you drive. Take a break if you feel tired to avoid putting yourself and other drivers in a dangerous situation.
Always Use Your Turn Signals
When you’re driving around a delivery truck, make sure to signal so the driver can see you, respond to your movements, and reduce the chance of a collision. Don’t change lanes or turn without signaling first, and avoid making any sudden moves.
As you attempt to move past a delivery truck, don’t rush or try to squeeze by the vehicle. Wait for the right opportunity to move forward safely. Plan ahead before you start driving, so you’ll have plenty of time to get to your destination. Impatience can increase the chance that you’ll lose control of your vehicle if you need to stop suddenly, so drive carefully to avoid an accident.
Manage Your Headlights
Bright lights can impair other drivers’ visibility and ability to drive safely. If the light from your headlights reflects off a delivery truck’s mirrors, it can momentarily blind other drivers. If you are approaching a delivery truck, make sure to lower your high beams.
Wear Your Seatbelt
If you collide with a delivery truck despite your best intentions, you are much less likely to be hurt or killed if you are wearing your seatbelt. In most places, seatbelt use is required by law, so protect yourself by following the rules.
Mind the Weather
Rain, sleet, snow, wind, ice, and fog can create hazardous conditions for drivers. Delivery trucks will be less likely to see you, be able to move around you, or stop if the weather is bad. Likewise, you may have difficulty seeing or anticipating what a delivery truck may do. If you encounter a delivery truck during bad weather, slow down, try to stay out of its way, or wait for it to move.
Obey the Speed Limit
The speed limit designates the maximum allowable driving speed on that particular road. Avoid exceeding the speed limit, and slow down if the road conditions are suboptimal. When you drive at high speed, it takes more time and distance to stop. A high-speed crash with a delivery truck increases the chance of severely injuring or killing both vehicles’ occupants, so respect the speed limit and stay safe.
Common Causes of Delivery Truck Accidents
Delivery truck collisions have multiple causes, including driver negligence, poor visibility, and mechanical failure. Some of the most common causes of delivery truck collisions are listed below.
Delivery truck drivers can easily have accidents if they are unable to avoid running over broken pavement or unmarked curbs and steps. Encountering these obstacles unexpectedly or at high speeds can cause the truck to slide or turn over in extreme cases. If you are driving near a delivery truck, make sure to be observant, pay attention to surrounding traffic, and keep a safe distance from the vehicle.
Trouble Backing Up
Although backing up may be a common event during a delivery driver’s everyday rounds, it can also make drivers susceptible to accidents. When drivers need to make deliveries in enclosed or tight spaces like garages, loading docks, or alleyways, they may have a hard time seeing nearby vehicles or oncoming traffic. Drivers who are on a tight schedule may be impatient and make a mistake as they back up. Heavy loads can also make it difficult for drivers to control their vehicles. All these factors can contribute to unwanted collisions.
Many delivery drivers work several hours at a time to ensure customers receive their packages on time. The job can be demanding and tiring. Drivers in towns and cities that receive many deliveries should always be mindful that delivery truck drivers may work under less than ideal conditions and lower the risk of collision by giving the delivery truck driver plenty of time and space to maneuver.
What Should I Do if I Collide With a Delivery Truck?
If you are in a collision with a delivery truck, it’s important to claim compensation for your losses if the other driver is at fault. Here are the steps you should take to protect yourself and your property in the case of an accident:
Care for Your Injuries
If you are injured, seek medical care right away. A doctor will need to assess your injuries and record their most probable cause. These records will serve as evidence when you make your claim.
Call Law Enforcement and Emergency Services
When you are in an accident, you must stay at the scene until help arrives. When the police arrive, you will fill out an accident report.
If possible, take videos and photographs of your injuries, damage to vehicles and property, debris, skid marks and anything else that can be used as evidence.
Get Contact Information
Gather contact information from the delivery driver and any eyewitnesses.
Call Your Insurer
Make sure to report the collision to your insurance company within two days. If you wait too long, your carrier may try to deny your claim.
Contact an Attorney
If you fail to secure adequate legal representation after a collision with a delivery truck, you could put yourself at personal and financial risk. An experienced, competent attorney who handles delivery truck accidents will be able to assess your liability, protect your rights, and recover the compensation you deserve.
PM Law Firm Is Here to Help Delivery Truck Accident Victims
When you are in a collision with a delivery truck, the personal injury lawyers at PM Law Firm are here to help. Our compassionate team of experienced, skilled attorneys is here to uphold your rights as a victim under Texas law and seek maximum compensation for your losses. Be sure to call our office so our team can seek the damages you deserve.