Semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles are a commonplace sight in St. Louis and the surrounding areas. These behemoths of the road can weigh as much as 20 to 30 times as much as the other smaller passenger vehicles around them, which makes them capable of causing extensive damage and serious injuries when they are involved in a collision.
Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take when you are driving around semi-trucks to reduce the risk that you will be involved in an truck accident. Some of these include:
Avoid the No-Zones
Termed “No Zones” by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the large blind spots around semis and other large trucks should be avoided. These areas include directly in front of the truck’s cab, directly behind the truck’s trailer, and to the side of the truck’s cab and trailer. As a general, rule, if you cannot see a truck driver in his mirrors, the driver cannot see you.
Give Trucks Ample Room to Stop
Semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles need much more room to stop than smaller, lighter passenger vehicles. As a result, in addition to avoiding being in the “No Zone” in front of a semi, you should also be sure to give them plenty of room when you are driving in front of them. If a truck is driving close to you and you are in the left lane, move over to let the truck pass.
Allow Trucks to Merge and Switch Lanes
Merging and switching lanes can be extremely difficult when you are driving a vehicle that is 70 to 80 feet long (as most semis are). Because these vehicles tend to accelerate more slowly than smaller cars and trucks, you may be hesitant to let a truck in front of you, so you try to speed up and get ahead of a truck that is merging or switching lanes. Unfortunately, this kind of driving can put you at risk of involvement in a serious accident with a vehicle much larger and heavier than yours. When you are around big rigs, the best course of action is to drive defensively and give them space.
Avoid Trucks that are Driving Erratically
Truck drivers often have grueling schedules and are allowed to drive up to 11 hours each day by federal hours-of-service regulations. In some cases, truck drivers have also been known to abuse substances to combat the stresses associated with long, lonely hours on the road. If you see a truck driving erratically, it may be because the driver is excessively fatigued, or worse, under the influence of a substance. These truckers may have impaired judgment, delayed reaction time, may swerve in and out of their lane, or engage in other unexpected behavior. As a result, it is a good idea to put as much distance as possible between you and any trucks that are swerving, driving excessively slowly, stopping suddenly, or otherwise behaving erratically.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation with a St. Louis Truck Accident Lawyer
Unfortunately, semi-truck accidents can happen under the best of circumstances, and there is no way to completely eliminate your risk of involvement in an accident. In the event that you are hurt in an accident with a large commercial truck, it is imperative to retain qualified legal counsel as soon as you can. For a free case evaluation with a semi-truck crash attorney in St. Louis, contact us or call us at 314-330-9390.