Big rigs, large, commercial trucks and 18-wheelers share our highways and roads carrying the freight that keeps our economy moving. Even when they are driving along obeying the speed limit and the rules of the road, they pose a significant safety hazard to the much smaller passenger vehicles on the roadways. However, when the driver is disregarding the rules and driving aggressively, it puts not only the truck driver, but the drivers and passengers in the other vehicles on the road in danger as well.
These huge vehicles can potentially cause serious injuries and fatalities if they get involved in a collision with another smaller vehicle. In an effort to keep our roads safe for all of the vehicles that traverse them, there are federal rules and regulations that govern the commercial trucking industry in the U.S. These rules dictate the kinds of specialized training that truck drivers must complete before they can obtain a CDL or commercial driver’s license. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency which governs the operation of large, commercial trucks and buses. The FMCSA says that aggressive driving is one of the deadliest threats we face as it contributes to thousands of the truck crashes that occur across the country.
Aggressive driving behaviors
Truck drivers are trained professionals who take their jobs seriously, but they are also human beings who get angry and frustrated often in reaction to drivers of passenger vehicles who are not familiar with how to safely maneuver around trucks on the highway. A truck driver might lose sight of the fact that they are operating a 15,000 pound potentially killing machine when they respond in anger to another driver and operate their truck in an aggressive manner. Aggressive driving on the part of commercial truck drivers is a serious issue. It can result in truck accidents that cause injuries and fatalities. In 2014, there were 3,660 deaths from large, commercial truck crashes in the U.S. according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Examples of aggressive driving include:
- Following too closely
- Offensive gestures
- Unsafe lane changes
- Failure to yield
- Violating traffic signals
Tips for sharing the road safely with large trucks
If there was just one tip we could offer you about safely interacting with trucks on the highway it would be this: Leave plenty of space for trucks. FMCSA research has found that a standard car traveling at 60 mph has the stopping distance of half a football field (160 feet). However, an 80,000 pound tractor trailer traveling at 60 mph requires at least 225 feet to stop.
- Stay out of the truck’s blind spots, which are on either side, behind and directly in front. If you can’t see the driver’s mirrors, then the driver most likely can’t see you.
- Trucks make wide right turns, so never place your vehicle between a truck and the curb on the right side.
- Be alert and pay attention to what is happening around you as you drive
Do whatever you can to keep as much distance between your vehicle and a large truck. When you are passing them on the left make sure to use your turn signal and make sure that you can see several car lengths of roadway between the front of the truck and your vehicle.
Stipe Law Firm is Southeast Oklahoma’s trusted source for legal counsel for the injured. We have spent the last 60 years helping truck and auto accident victims take back control of their lives. Please call (918) 505-7741 or contact us to make an appointment at our firm in McAlester, where we help clients just like you from all over Oklahoma.