by Sally Prieto-Chomat, Attorney, Rubenstein Law Trucking Accident Team
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the number of automotive deaths nearly doubles during the summer months with August being the most dangerous month. Even though summer is officially over, the 2017 FL Department of Highway Safety shows accidents involving commercial vehicles average 120 per day. Each and every day just running errands and commuting to work we share roads and highways with buses, tractor trailers, and other large commercial vehicles. Below are a few tips from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to help keep you and your family safe while driving around large trucks and buses.
1. Stay out of Blind Spots - Large trucks and buses have multiple large blind spots. If you can’t see the driver in the truck’s side mirrors, then the driver can’t see you. Don’t drive in the blind spot. Either slow down or move ahead and always be especially careful when merging near trucks or buses.
2. Pass Safely and Don’t Cut It Close - Make sure you can see the driver in the mirror before passing. Always use your signal and pass using the left lane. Never pass from the right lane. Accelerate so you can get past the truck safely and promptly. Always make sure the truck is fully visible in your rearview mirror before you pull in front of the truck. Never “cut off” a commercial vehicle - it takes buses 40% longer to stop! Also, avoid passing trucks on a downgrade and if a truck is passing you, stay to the right and slow down slightly. Give the driver room to pass so you can get out of the blind spot.
3. Keep a Safe Distance - Tailgating a commercial vehicle can put you in a blind spot and because trucks are so high off the ground, if you can’t stop in time or get hit from behind, your vehicle could end up under that truck. This is also true on a hill as commercial vehicles may roll back.
4. Make Room for Those Wide Turns - Give a truck its space to turn. Never try to squeeze by or get between the commercial vehicle and the curb. Also, while at intersections, never stop in front of the white line since commercial vehicles require that space to complete turns safely.
5. Be Patient and Buckle Up! - Honking, driving aggressively and weaving through traffic can cause dangerous distractions and crashes. Always remember to buckle up - seatbelts save lives! Children are safest in the back seat, buckled up or in a car seat or booster.
Sometimes, no matter how safe we are accidents still happen. If you or someone you know is injured in an accident with a truck or other commercial vehicle, call the experienced truck accident attorneys at Rubenstein Law 1-800-FL-LEGAL.