Driving safely means managing multiple risk factors every time you hit the road. Of course, you already know that you need to monitor your vehicle for safety issues, such as the potential for your engine to overheat. You also need to pay close attention to other people on the road.
Watching out for drivers who are swerving or otherwise driving erratically is an important safety precaution. Similarly, you should make sure that you always give commercial trucks a wide berth. Driving too close to them could increase your risk of a crash, and as a smaller vehicle, you will likely suffer worse damages than the commercial truck.
Trucks need extra space on all four sides
Commercial trucks are substantially bigger than passenger vehicles. They are taller, wider and much longer. Those bigger dimensions results in more risk for other drivers nearby. Even with the large mirrors you commonly see on the side of truck cabs, there are huge blind spots surrounding commercial vehicles.
If you drive in these blind spots, even for a few seconds, you could be at risk for a crash. After all, the truck driver will not see you and, therefore, won't take your proximity into consideration before turning or merging.
Stay out of the "no zones"
The large areas that are blind spots around trucks are called "no zones" by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They gave these areas that title to remind drivers that they should never drive in these no zones.
Typically speaking, this means staying at least 20 feet in front of a truck, even when entering a new line of traffic. Driving closer than this could put you at risk for a rear-end accident. You should also avoid driving to the left of a trailer for the entire length of its trailer and the cab behind the driver.
On the right side, you should avoid the entire cab area, the length of the trailer and another 10 feet behind the truck for two lanes. Finally, people driving behind trucks should leave at least 30 feet of space between their vehicles and the commercial trucks to ensure the truckers can see them in the mirrors.
Truck driver distraction can contribute to increased risk
Commercial drivers are often on the road for many hours every day. This can lead them to seek stimulation to break up the monotony. While it may be against federal trucking regulations, truck drivers may choose to get on the internet or send text messages with friends or family on the road. Doing so means that they aren't watching the road as carefully as they should be.
Combine this distraction with unsafe proximity to a truck, and you have a perfect recipe for a terrible accident. Although you can't do anything to prevent a truck driver for making negligent or risky decisions, you can take steps to protect yourself by staying out of the blind spots that surround a truck.
Anyone who ends up hurt as the result of a crash caused by truck driver distraction should immediately look into their legal rights to pursue compensation for losses.