The holiday season is the gift-giving season for so many people. But the cool knickknacks, toys, electronics, and other fun products that get wrapped up or stuffed in a stocking each year don’t really come down the chimney with Santa Claus. No, they come off shelves in retail stores or distribution warehouses. And they get to those shelves by means of tractor-trailers and commercial trucks more often than not.
When you are driving on a highway during the holiday season, keep an eye out for an increased number of big rigs on the road around you. Some of those truck drivers could be focused on delivering their cargo to their next destination more so than on driving safely, which means you will be at a higher risk of getting into a truck accident that was not your fault. To stay as safe as can be on the highways this holiday season, it is useful to review some safety tips about driving near one or more tractor-trailers.
There are five things to keep in mind to help prevent truck accidents:
- Blind spots: Tractor-trailers have large blind spots compared to smaller passenger vehicles, so it is deceptively easy for your car to become “invisible” to a nearby truck driver. A commercial truck will usually have a 20-foot blind spot in front, a 30-foot blind spot in back, a 1-lane blind spot to the left of the cab, and a 2-or-3-lane blind spot to the right and back of the cab. Do your best to stay clear of these blind spots when you are near a big rig hauling product.
- Eye contact: A general safety rule about driving near a tractor-trailer is to keep the mirror where you can see it and the driver within its reflection. When you first approach a big rig and when you intend to pass it, try to make eye contact with the truck driver in the mirror. Visual confirmation of your vehicle will make it more “real” to the driver, which makes it more difficult for them to forget you are there.
- Passing: The biggest blind spot on a commercial truck is along the right side, which is why you should spend as little time as you can on that side. To pass a big rig, use the left side whenever possible. By doing so, you will spend the least amount of time in a blind spot, reducing your risk of a sideswipe or underride accident.
- Late-night driving: Everyone feels tired when driving late at night, and this goes double for truck drivers. Due to 14-hour shifts that are common in the trucking industry, a truck driver you encounter on the highway could beexhausted. If you are leaving a holiday party late at night, then you need to take extra precautions when driving near a tractor-trailer. Don’t forget to keep your headlights on for visibility, too!
- Patience: Driving near one big rig can be a problem but driving among several of them during the height of holiday shipping days can be downright dangerous. When the highway ahead of you is cluttered with three, four, or more tractor-trailers, your best option to stay safe might be to have patience and hang back. Do not try to pass multiple trucks at once, especially if that would mean weaving among them. Wait until there is a clear and safe opportunity.
From our team of truck accident attorneys at Rafi Law Group in Phoenix, Arizona, we wish you have a safe and fun holiday season! Be careful and responsible on the road, especially around commercial trucks. If you or a loved one are hurt in a truck accident caused by the truck driver’s negligence, then you can call our law firm at (623) 207-1555 to request a free initial consultation.