How Do Motorists Stay Safe When Driving Near 18-Wheelers?

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On average, big rigs weigh 20 to 30 times as much as passenger vehicles. In a truck-car crash, occupants of the smaller vehicles can sustain devastating injuries.

Passenger cars, pickups and vans must share the road with large trucks, but how can motorists stay safe around these massive vehicles?

Goals of a new study

In 2015, over 400,000 crashes involved large trucks resulting in 116,000 injuries and more than 4,000 fatalities. A 2017 study “Leveraging Large Truck Technology and Engineering to Realize Safety Gains” released by the nonprofit AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety focused on the benefits of equipping large trucks with advanced safety features.

Recommended safety features

The researchers estimated that the installation of four advanced safety features on big rigs could potentially prevent 63,000 truck-related crashes annually. The features recommended were air disc brakes, automatic emergency braking systems, lane departure warning systems and video-based onboard safety monitoring systems so that employers could monitor driver performance and provide feedback.

Safety tips for motorists

The study also provided tips that drivers of smaller vehicles can use to stay safe around large trucks:

  • Stay out of the truck’s blind spot. If you are unable to see the truck driver in the side-view mirror, the driver cannot see you.
  • When stopping on a hill, leave ample room between your vehicle and a truck in case the big rig rolls back.
  • When a large truck is passing you, slow down and give the truck plenty of room.
  • Allow sufficient space when a truck ahead of you signals to change lanes.
  • Always follow a big rig at a safe distance.

Stay safe around large trucks and avoid the potential for becoming an accident victim.

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