Thanks to online shopping and the ability to get virtually anything delivered right to your front door, the number of delivery trucks on our roads has increased exponentially. To avoid accidents and arrive in one piece, drivers must be mindful of the vehicles they are sharing the road with and take extra precautions when behind the wheel.
A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. With such size and weight, accidents involving these vehicles are often catastrophic, resulting in severe injuries, and in some cases, death.
While it is next to impossible to control the way others drive and act behind the wheel, there are some things we can all do to remain safe and help protect ourselves and the ones we love when sharing the road with delivery trucks and other large, potentially dangerous vehicles.
If you have suffered injuries as a result of an accident involving a delivery truck, it is critical to consult with a Texas attorney with a strong reputation for getting results for personal injury victims. Contact PM Law to schedule a comprehensive case evaluation as quickly as possible to discuss your damages and/or injuries and recovering the compensation you deserve.
Tips for Driving Safely Near Delivery Trucks
Delivery truck drivers have plenty of challenges when it comes to navigating traffic and city streets. Since delivery trucks are wider, longer, and heavier than every other vehicle on the road, extra precautions must be taken when driving in their vicinity.
Here are some helpful tips for driving safely near delivery trucks to decrease the risk of an accident and help keep you safe out on the road:
Make Yourself Seen
When driving near delivery trucks, one of the most important things you should do is ensure you can be seen. Trucks are large and have several blind spots, which makes it difficult to see nearby vehicles. Although they are often equipped with oversized mirrors, they aren’t large enough for their drivers to see everything around them.
As a general rule, if you are unable to see a truck’s mirrors, you are in their blind spot and traveling too close. You should also avoid driving on the sides of trucks just behind the cab. While their mirrors may be visible, the way most mirrors are angled does not allow delivery truck drivers to see vehicles travelling right beside and behind them. This can create a potentially dangerous situation in the event of a blown tire or an attempt to change lanes.
Learning where the blind spots are and how to avoid being in them will help decrease the risk of an accident.
Leave Plenty of Space
Similarly, many truck accidents occur due to other drivers traveling too closely and not leaving enough space. Compared to cars and other passenger vehicles, delivery and semi-trucks require more space when traveling along roadways due to their size.
In fact, commercial trucks often need two lanes when turning. Therefore, not only should you travel a safe distance behind a delivery truck in order to be seen and have time to react to braking and situations around you, but you should also avoid trying to pass a truck on the right side while they are turning. Doing so can put you in a precarious position and leave you trapped between the truck and the curb, cars, or roadside structures.
In addition to staying a reasonable distance away from trucks as they turn and travel our roadways, it is crucial to avoid cutting in front of them as well. Since they are larger and heavier, trucks require more time and room to stop. Cutting in front of a truck can cause the driver to inadvertently run into the back of you in a situation in which sudden braking is required.
You should also never stop immediately behind a truck when going uphill. Trucks, like other vehicles, often roll backward a little when transitioning from the brake to the gas. Stopping too closely behind a truck can increase the risk of being backed into and suffering serious damage or injury.
Be patient when sharing the road with delivery and semi-trucks. Trucks take longer to accelerate and turn, so be patient when driving near them and leave plenty of space when trailing or making a pass. Also, leave earlier than needed to reach your destination in order to avoid feeling rushed and making any hasty and potentially costly driving decisions.
Commercial trucks require much more space and time to maneuver through traffic, turn, and come to a stop. For these reasons, it is critical to remain extremely aware and cautious while passing them on the road.
Before making a pass, make sure you are not in the blind spot of the truck driver and that they can see you. Prior to passing, signal properly and then only pass on the left side of the truck as it is easier for drivers to see you. After passing, ensure you can fully see the truck in your rearview mirror prior to pulling in front of it. This will ensure you leave plenty of space to avoid a collision should sudden braking be required.
Also, since truck drivers often slow down and speed up when traveling up and down hills and mountain roads, avoid passing them in these situations if you can. If a truck is passing you, it is imperative to remain in the right lane and move over as far as possible in order to leave plenty of room for the truck to safely pass. This will also lessen the amount of time you are in the truck’s blind spot, which is always a good thing.
Give Up the Right of Way
When being passed by a delivery truck, give up the right of way. Rather than attempting to speed up and remain in front of it, maintain your speed and slow down slightly to give the truck driver room to safely change into your lane after making the pass. If you pick up speed after merging onto the roadway and need to pass the truck, do so safely by following the rules above.
Always Use Turn Signals
You should always use turn signals when merging into traffic or changing lanes, but this is especially true when driving near a delivery truck. Commercial trucks are longer and heavier than other vehicles on the road, which means they require more time and distance to slow down and maneuver through traffic.
Using your turn signals when changing lanes around delivery and other commercial trucks will help ensure the drivers of the trucks see your intentions and have time to adjust their speed accordingly. Doing so may also limit your liability in the event of an accident.
Adjust Your Headlights
It is common for drivers to utilize high beam headlights when driving on highways and rural roads at night. Although this can be useful for safely navigating unfamiliar roads, bright headlights can bounce off a delivery truck’s oversized mirrors and make it difficult for the driver to see.
To avoid a potential collision, adjust your headlights by lowering the high beams whenever you are approaching any vehicle, but especially commercial trucks. The same is true when approaching oncoming traffic. Bright lights can blind oncoming drivers and impair their ability to safely operate their vehicle, increasing the chance of collision.
Be Cautious at Intersections
Intersections are the most hazardous areas of almost any roadway, so it is important to take extra precautions when approaching them. When you approach a delivery truck at an intersection, check to see if the truck’s turn signal is flashing. If so, keep a safe distance from the vehicle and exercise patience as it turns.
Trucks need a wider birth than other vehicles and also take longer to turn to avoid tipping over. For added safety and to keep from running into a tipped payload, it is good practice to wait until a truck has completed its turn and cleared the intersection prior to entering the intersection yourself. While you may have to wait a few extra seconds or minutes and miss the light completely, adding some time to your commute is better than suffering a serious injury or death.
Driving any vehicle requires complete focus on the road and the other vehicles around you. If you become distracted by anything for even a few seconds, you can lose control and potentially put yourself and others in a life-threatening situation. Some common distractions you should avoid when on the road include:
- Texting or making calls while driving
- Using tablets or GPS devices
- Adjusting the radio and other vehicle features
- Conversing with passengers
- Reaching into the backseat
While avoiding these and other common distractions can be challenging, it is not nearly as challenging as recovering from serious injury and the trauma of an auto accident.
Wear Your Seatbelt
According to Texas state law, all vehicle drivers and passengers eight years of age and above must wear a seatbelt. A car seat or car booster seat must be used to restrain all passengers under the age of eight or four feet nine inches.
If you are involved in a delivery truck accident, wearing a seatbelt and using proper child restraint devices could save your life and the life of loved ones. If you need assistance in understanding Texas driving and safety laws, the trusted Texas accident attorneys at PM LAW are more than happy to answer any questions you may have,
A Texas Delivery Truck Accident Attorney You Can Trust
From city streets and major highways to quiet country roads, driving near delivery trucks can be intimidating and dangerous without the right driving techniques and know-how. Now that you know how to safely drive near large commercial vehicles, put what you have learned into practice to avoid becoming an accident victim and safely arrive at your destination, regardless of who you are sharing the road with.
That said, not all auto accidents can be avoided. If you are ever in an accident involving a reckless or negligent commercial truck driver, it is imperative to contact an experienced accident attorney as quickly as possible.
At PM Law, we have years of experience helping Texas accident victims recover compensation for the damages and injuries they have sustained. We are dedicated to making our local roads safer by sharing driving tips just like these and helping accident victims receive the compensation and justice they deserve.
Contact PM Law today at (281) 968-9529 to speak with one of our experts and schedule a free, comprehensive case evaluation.