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How to Share the Road Safely with Semi-Trucks

When you are operating a regular passenger car, it can be unnerving to drive around massive tractor-trailer trucks. The difference in size alone makes these enormous vehicles a reminder to drive cautious and be aware of others on the road.

So long as they are driven by highly skilled professionals who remain attentive at all times, semi-trucks are usually not a problem. But when a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel or decides to speed or drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, tragedies can happen.

At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., we encourage drivers to stay safe on the roads at all times. However, if you or a family member has been hurt in a crash, please contact our dedicated Gainesville truck accident attorneys today.

What’s Different About Driving Large Vehicles or Semi-Trucks?

There are several key distinctions between large commercial vehicles and regular passenger cars that can make a big difference when trying to drive safely around semi-trucks.

  • Semi-trucks have huge blind spots. Due to the way they are designed, most large box trucks, tractor-trailer combinations, and similar vehicles have a blind spot to their immediate rear and to the passenger side. Try to stay out of these blind spots. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) calls these “no-zones” because you don’t want to be in them.
  • They take longer to stop. Many semi-trucks are loaded up with more than 80,000 pounds in gross weight. No matter how good the air brakes, they just take a lot longer to stop. Never stop short in front of a truck, and try to give them lots of room.
  • Drivers are under pressure. Over-the-road truck drivers are paid by the mile, meaning the longer they are behind the wheel, the more they earn. As you can imagine, this creates a bad incentive for some drivers to speed or push it too hard and end up fatigued.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself While Sharing the Road

Here are some safety tips you can follow when sharing the road with semi-trucks:

  • Drive defensively. Try to stay aware of surroundings and avoid clustering around other vehicles on the highway.
  • Keep a safe distance. Tailgating is always a bad idea, especially around large vehicles. When driving behind large trucks, you should always stay back far enough to see the truck’s mirrors.
  • Avoid blind spots. Avoid the passenger side, and never linger in the lane next to a large truck.
  • Dim the bright lights. Always remember to dim your brights, especially when you have vehicles approaching on dark roads. Bright lights can temporarily blind oncoming drivers.
  • Avoid distractions. Sharing the road with large trucks is easier when you remain free from distractions like cellphones and texting.

Ultimately, there’s only so much you can do to protect yourself when driving around large trucks. A negligent or careless truck driver can hurt you and your family in an instant, and sadly you may not be able to avoid it. However, you can protect your rights after a crash by talking with one of our skilled attorneys.

Get Help from an Experienced Gainesville Truck Accident Attorney

Even if you follow all the safety tips for driving around large semi-trucks, there’s still a chance you could get hurt by a careless or negligent truck driver. Florida highways are full of these large vehicles, so do what you can to avoid a collision.

However, if you or a loved one is seriously hurt in a crash with a large truck, contact Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.