How to Drive with Trucks in Florida

‘Huge, scary, loud, slow, fast and dangerous’ These are just a few of the words that people use to describe those monstrously-sized trucks. They are crucial to our economy and social growth as a nation, but despite this unquestionable fact, I don’t recall learning about trucks and road safety in high school driver’s education class. Sometimes formal training leaves out the most important aspects of a field and forces you to inquire via experience. I am doubtful that after reading this you will become mastered in the art of sharing the road with trucks, but I am confident that it will give you some helpful refreshers that could possibly prevent an accident in the future.

semi trucks

Ease the Trucker’s Pressure

Truckers drive on extremely tight schedules, often pushing to painstakingly tiresome hours of operation on very little sleep. It’s ironic that the ones who require the most rest and regeneration (truckers) have the least amount of time to do so. This leads to semi-trucks being responsible for a hefty chunk of roadway crashes. That’s not to say they’re always in the wrong, though. Let’s face it, even though they shouldn’t be driving on such little sleep, they don’t really have a choice and America doesn’t have much of an alternative yet. Instead of trying to change the amount of sleep they get, let’s alter our behavior to conform to the tired truckers and simply assume that they’re always drowsy at the wheel.

  • Don’t drive in their blind spots: This simple rule applies to everyone on the road. If you can see their eyes, they can see yours. Make it a point to make eye contact if you don’t feel safe driving near a truck.
  • Pass with caution and on the LEFT side: Truckers have limited visibility on their left side because they’re in the right seat. If it’s possible, pass on the left side to ensure the best response from the trucker. Don’t be rude about it though!
  • Be patient: Truckers get annoyed too, and I’m sure if they could, they’d be cutting everyone off. Have a little patience and understand that they’re probably stressed to. Don’t try to solve the problem by speeding around them—that’s a great way to cause an accident.
  • Maintain a safe distance behind the truck: Just as all other vehicles, it requires some time to stop. Trucks, however, require a whole lot more. You need to let them know ahead of time what you’re planning on doing so they can react accordingly.  Signal early, make clear decisions, and don’t do anything spontaneously around them.
  • Don’t turn with the truck: That big “Wide Right Turns” bumper sticker is there for a reason. Back tires don’t the exact path that front ones do which can make the truck end up in a “V” shape on a really sharp turn. To prevent this, truckers will often swing out into the left lane and then cut over to the right lane to make a straighter turn. Being on either side of the truck while this happens could be dangerous, so it’s best to give the trucker some space until the maneuver is done.
  • Turn off your bright lights: This goes for anyone in any vehicle. If you find yourself complaining when someone is shining their bright headlights in your eyes, you can understand why you shouldn’t do it to someone else. 

Preventable Accidents

By applying some or all of these tips, and when combined with the proper rest and concentration of truckers, serious accidents can be prevented including but not limited to:

  • An Under-Ride Collision: When the following car did not leave enough distance between him/herself and the truck; the truck suddenly applies the brakes and the car crashes beneath (under) the trailer.
  • A Rear-End Collision: This accident is assuming that the truck is in the back of the crash rear-ending another vehicle. With all that extra weight, getting rear-ended by a semi-trailer truck can nearly guarantee injuries.
  • A Head-On Collision: It would be surprising to see a survivor get out of this accident. Sadly, a large percentage of accidents involving 18-wheelers result in fatal injuries. Head-on collisions are by far the most dangerous—crashing where both or all drivers are most vulnerable.
  • A T-Bone Collision: Occurs when one vehicle crashes head-on into the side of another vehicle, forming a “T” shape, hence ‘T-bone’. Either party can be at fault here—regardless of who crashed into whom, a T-bone collision can never end well.
  • A Blind Spot Collision: Most commonly happens when a trucker does not see a car in his/her blind spot and attempts to turn or switch lanes, drifting into the path of another vehicle.

Injured in a Truck Accident?

Sometimes, regardless of caution and safety measures taken, accidents will happen and victims can be left alone, confused, hurt, and stressed. It’s never easy to deal with a crash situation, regardless of who was at fault and what is owed to you; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t ease the stress a little bit and get what you deserve. In Florida, you are entitled and covered under insurance to receive medical attention and treatment. Don’t take your insurance provider’s word as final say. Speak to an experienced truck accident attorney today to learn your rights and options for dealing with an accident. You can receive a free consultation and case evaluation courtesy of the Clearwater based Dolman Law Group, so don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756

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Practice Area: Truck Accidents
Sharing the road with trucks