Every week there are stories in the newspaper and on television involving semi-truck and passenger automobile accidents. Just this morning, there was a tragic semi – passenger vehicle fatality on Interstate 65 near Lafayette, Indiana. Now this afternoon, there is another multi-car accident involving a semi-truck on I-65 in Greenwood, Indiana. As we all travel on roads with semi-trucks, please keep these factors in mind in order to avoid a personal injury and situations of wrongful death involving a collision with an 18-wheeler.
Wide Turns – Semi-trucks are a lot longer than passenger vehicles. They will have to make a wide right turn in order to avoid the curb or other obstacles. Drivers in passenger vehicles should watch to see if a semi is signaling for a turn and avoid pulling up alongside the truck. The semi driver is concentrating on the turn and may not see the driver if they are alongside the truck, in a blind spot.
Blind Spots – Along with turns, semi-trucks have larger blind spots than the average vehicle. Due to their size, there is a blind spot immediately in front of the semi, along the sides near the cab, and directly behind the trailer. The blind spot on the right side of the truck is worse than the left due to the position of the driver. Passenger drivers should move out of these blind spots as quickly as safety permits so the trucker knows if they can safely pass or make an evasive move to avoid collisions due to other drivers.
Passing a Semi – Due to the blind spots that are larger on the right side of the truck, passenger vehicles should pass on the left whenever possible. When the pass is completed, passenger automobiles should also make sure they do not cut off the semi when re-entering the same lane of travel as the semi. Again, due to their size, semi-trucks take a lot longer to brake and come to a complete stop.
Wind Issues – Semi-trucks are susceptible to acting like a sail when there is any type of wind. This is true even for a fully loaded semi, much less a semi pulling an empty trailer. Again, staying out of a blind spot and passing as quickly as safety permits will aid passenger vehicles in avoiding collisions with semi-trucks.
Sleepy Drivers – Semi truck drivers are sometimes under too much pressure by their clients and employers to deliver loads by a certain time. This can make drivers fail to follow regulations regarding sleeping and breaks, which then leads to road weariness and falling asleep at the wheel. When a passenger vehicle sees a semi-truck swerving erratically late at night or even during the day, the semi driver could be drowsy and the truck should be avoided.
These are just some of the issues that come with sharing the road with semi-trucks. All of us enjoy the benefits of these trucks through the shipping of products and food; therefore, we all need to be aware of these issues and help maintain safe driving conditions.