Sharing America’s roadways with the big rigs is not just intimidating, it can often be deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 3,954 people who lost their lives to accidents involving large trucks in 2013, and an estimated 95,000 individuals were injured. Alarmingly, 71 percent of those killed and 72 percent of those injured were occupants of other vehicles.
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Unfortunately, the state of Tennessee is not immune to the devastating effects of sharing the roads with the big rigs. There were 126 large truck related fatalities in 2013 in the state, and 92 of those were occupants of other vehicles. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), one of the main reasons that passenger car occupants are more frequently injured or killed in large truck accidents is the vulnerability of individuals who are traveling in smaller motor vehicles.
Big rigs often weigh between 20 and 30 times as much as passenger vehicles, and they are significantly taller. A combination of the large trucks’ massive size, braking limitations and their numerous blind spots make smaller vehicles susceptible to becoming victims of the catastrophic damages caused by large truck accidents.
Tips to Stay Safe While Sharing the Roads with Large Trucks
Fortunately, there are measures that motorists can take to help avoid becoming involved inaccidents with large trucks.
- Avoid the “no zones” whenever possible. Large trucks have various blind spots that can prove dangerous to unsuspecting motorists. The largest of these is located on the passenger side of large trucks, but there is also a smaller blind spot located on the driver’s side, as well as in the direct front and rear of big rigs. A good rule of thumb is that if a motorist cannot see the trucker’s face in the side view mirror, it’s likely that the trucker can not see the driver either.
- Avoid sudden stops and lane changes when driving near large trucks. The average large truck weighs approximately 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, so a big rig does not have the same braking capability as a smaller passenger vehicle. At just 65 mph., it takes approximately 525 feet for a large truck to come to a complete stop.
- Be aware of wide right turns. Large trucks often need to swing left before making a right turn. Motorists should watch for blinkers and avoid passing trucks on the right.