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3 Tips for Sharing the Road with Semi-Trucks

In 2020, there were 4,965 fatal crashes resulting from a collision with a semi-truck. In Georgia, nearly 1 in every 10 fatal accidents involved large trucks. Due to the sheer size, weight, and visibility issues associated with 18-wheelers, drivers of passenger vehicles should take extra care when sharing the road with these vehicles. These tips will maximize your visibility and reduce the chances of a truck accident.

Maintain a Safe Following Distance

Maintaining a safe following distance is essential for sharing the road with semis. Drivers should keep a distance of at least 30 feet to stay in view of the driver’s mirrors. A greater following distance also gives you more time to react to a sudden brake or perform an evasive maneuver.

The FMCSA recommends that under 40 mph, there should be at least 4 seconds between you and the leading vehicle. For speeds above 40 mph, you should leave one additional second.

Avoid Blind Spots

Practicing safe driving near semi-trucks requires an understanding of their blind spots. If your vehicle is within these blind spots, the truck driver is unable to see you.

  • Within 30 feet directly behind the truck.
  • Less than 20 feet directly ahead of the truck.
  • On either side of the truck, directly next to the front half of the truck and cargo.
  • To the right of the truck, with a lane between yourself and the truck.

Generally, if you can see the driver in their side mirrors, the driver can see you too. Avoid lingering in these blind spots to significantly reduce the chances of a collision. If you’re passing, you should minimize the time spent in the areas listed above.

Safe Truck Overtaking

Passing 18-wheelers takes more vigilance than a standard passenger vehicle. Getting stuck behind a truck can be frustrating, it’s important to remain patient and wait for a safe opportunity to pass.

First and foremost, drivers must ensure the conditions are safe for a passing maneuver. You shouldn’t pass if you can’t see ahead of the truck or if you notice traffic coming to a stop. Always pass the truck in the left lane to avoid the truck’s blind spot on the right.

While passing, drivers should maintain a steady speed so the truck driver can anticipate your vehicle. Before merging back into the truck’s lane, check your rearview mirror to ensure the truck is behind you. Give the truck plenty of room when you merge in front of it. Semi-trucks have a large braking distance, giving them less time to react to prevent a collision. When you are ready to merge, turn on your indicators and switch lanes.

Were You Injured in a Truck Accident in Georgia? Our Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorneys Can Help

At Kam, Ebersbach, and Lewis, our Newnan personal injury attorneys are equipped to handle a wide range of injury cases. We will fight to hold negligent parties accountable and get you the compensation you deserve. If you were injured in a truck accident, schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options.