Tips for Tennessee motorists to drive safely around large trucks

Trucking accidents can have devastating consequences, however, following certain safety precautions may help motorists avoid such collisions.

Driver fatigue, negligence, distraction and other factors commonly result in accidents involving large commercial vehicles in Tennessee, and throughout the U.S. Due to the size of these vehicles, the outcomes of such collisions are often serious. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 104,000 people suffered injuries as a result of trucking accidents in 2012. Close to 4,000 people were killed in accidents involving large trucks that same year. While not all crashes can be avoided, there are some things that passenger vehicle drivers can do to help safely share the road with truckers.

Stay out of no zones

Like smaller passenger vehicles, tractor-trailers and busses have blind spots. Also known as no zones, there are large areas on the sides, in the rear and even in front of large commercial vehicles where the driver may be unable to see smaller vehicles. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the largest blind spot for large trucks is the right side of the vehicle. Staying out of no zones, or limiting the amount of time they are there, may help drivers avoid collisions with large trucks.

Allow ample space

Many drivers fail to realize that large commercial vehicles are not just bigger cars. They have operational limitations that smaller cars do not have. For example, a large truck that is traveling at 55 miles per hour needs 450 feet, or more, to stop, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation. A car traveling at that same speed needs only approximately 240 feet to come to a complete stop.

Additionally, truckers need more room to maneuver their vehicles. This is particularly true when making right turns. Large truck drivers may be unable to see smaller vehicles, maneuver around them or stop abruptly. As such, it can be important for car drivers to give these vehicles ample space.

Avoid distractions

Distractions can be especially dangerous when drivers are sharing the road with large commercial vehicles. Driver negligence, such as briefly looking down at their phone, changing the radio station or turning to talk to a passenger, may cause motorists to miss important signals. Failing to observe a trucker's signals or brake lights could easily result in a collision. Therefore, it is important for drivers to remain focused on the task of driving to help prevent large truck accidents.

Consult with an attorney

Even the safest of drivers in Tennessee may be involved in a collision with a large commercial vehicle. When these types of accidents occur, those involved often require extensive medical treatment. Should the fault for causing the crash lie with the trucker, he or she may be held liable for the resulting damages. As such, those who have been injured in trucking accidents may benefit from discussing their situation with a legal professional. An attorney may advise them of their rights and options for seeking compensation.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury