As a resident of Houston or the local area, you’re well aware of the need for safety when sharing the road with commercial vehicles. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never completely avoid driving around these dangerously large trucks.
In 2018, 4,862 large trucks were involved in a fatal crash, a 1% increase from 2017 and a 51% increase since 2009. The involvement rate per 100 million large-truck miles traveled is down 1% from 2017, but up 51% since 2009. Large trucks are defined as any medium or heavy truck, not including buses and motorhomes, with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds.
It’s statistics like these that clearly show you why it’s important to learn how to drive safely around large trucks.
Five simple safety tips for driving around large trucks in Houston
There are things you should and shouldn’t do when driving in around large commercial trucks. Here are five safety tips to remember that will help you to confidently navigate around large trucks next time you’re on Texas roads:
Tip 1. Avoid blind spots when driving around large trucks
The larger the vehicle, the more blind spots the truck driver has to deal with. And this is definitely an issue for commercial trucks.
Remember this: If you can’t see the truck driver in their side mirror, they probably can’t see you.
The most common blind spots are those directly next to the truck and behind it. If you have to drive in either of these places, don’t do so for an extended period of time.
Tip 2. Take care when passing these large trucks
Imagine a situation in which you’re stuck in the left lane behind a slow-moving commercial truck. For one reason or another, the truck driver simply won’t move out of the way.
You try to wait it out, but soon enough you find yourself passing in the right lane. That’s a mistake, as it greatly increases the odds of an accident (as well as a traffic ticket).
It’s always best to pass in the left lane. And when doing so, don’t hesitate. You don’t want to stay in the trucker’s blind spot for too long.
Note: Leave plenty of space when moving back in front of the truck after passing. It takes these large vehicles a greater distance to slow down in the event that someone cuts them off.
Tip 3. Leave extra space around these large trucks
Do you often find yourself driving entirely too closely to the vehicle in front of you?
Yes, this is difficult to avoid at times, but you should make an effort to always leave extra space between your passenger vehicle and the commercial truck. This is critical to your safety, both when driving in fast-moving traffic and stop-and-go traffic.
As a general rule of thumb, leave a minimum of three seconds of stopping time. But, since you want to err on the side of caution, adding a couple of extra seconds will help maintain your safety and those of your passengers.
Tip 4. Watch for large trucks making wide turns
This doesn’t come into play on the interstate, but it’s something to think about when driving on Houston city streets.
Commercial trucks need a lot of space to make turns, so they may have to “swing wide.” Stay back as the trucker sets their vehicle up for the turn. Don’t attempt to sneak past the truck while the driver is setting up their turn, as this can result in a collision and serious injuries.
Tip 5. Keep an eye on the Houston weather
For example, if you realize that rain and strong winds are moving into the area, adjust your driving style to account for this bad weather and its impact on Houston road safety.
Large trucks, including commercial trucks, often find it difficult to stay in their lane when the wind is blowing. Add this to slick roadways, and you have a recipe for disaster.
If the weather and road conditions are less than ideal, take extra caution to protect yourself around large trucks that may be struggling.
When safety fails, call a trusted Houston truck accident attorney
Even though these tips should help you drive safely around large trucks, you could still suffer an injury in an accident.
If that happens, here’s what you should do:
- Call 911 to request help
- Receive immediate medical treatment
- Maintain all medical records and follow advice of your doctor
- Contact an experienced Houston truck accident attorney
Although you have the ability to file and manage an insurance claim on your own, it’s best to consult with an aggressive Houston truck accident attorney who will fight against the trucking insurance company and its corporate lawyers.
Johnson Garcia LLP Houston injury attorneys come armed with 30+ years of legal experience and a passion for making injured Texas victims whole again. Our legal team can help with everything from answering your questions to communicating with the insurance companies to collecting the right evidence to back up your truck accident claim. Give us a call to schedule your free consultation and take action to protect your legal rights.