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Tractor Trailer Safety Tips

It doesn’t matter if you’re commuting locally or driving long distance, you’re likely to come across tractor trailers or semi-trucks and their dedicated truck drivers. The trucking industry is a vast network of trade and efficiency in the United States, and now certain safety regulations and features have been implemented to keep both truck drivers and other drivers safe on the road. But there are still many things passenger vehicles should be mindful of when sharing the road with these commercial motor vehicles.What makes tractor-trailers so dangerous? One key factor is the size of the vehicle, which makes operating a semi-truck a significant challenge for truck drivers. From the volume of cargo to the sheer size of the rig, there is a lot of force and weight involved. The federal government has regulated the maximum size of trailers, with a length between 40-53 feet. Be mindful that some states have allowed up to 59 feet trailers, so if you’re doing any interstate traveling, be aware that some of these trucks may seem longer because they are. The width of a semi-trailer is 8.5 feet. In Utah, the maximum total vehicle weight for a semi-truck is 80,000 lbs. That is nearly 13-30 times larger than standard passenger vehicles. This means that tractor trailers are at an increased risk of crashes due to their size and weight, resulting in fatal crashes under certain driving or road conditions.

Safety Practices for Sharing the Road with Tractor-Trailers

  • Avoid blind spots – due to the size of the semi-trucks, it’s difficult for truck drivers to see other drivers as their blind spots are larger. Their blind spots are in the front, behind, and sides of the rig. It’s best for drivers not to travel too closely to the front or rear of a truck, particularly if you are traveling at high speed. Don’t stay in a blind spot longer than necessary, and remember these defensive driving techniques to stay safe.
  • Give distance – Trucks need a lot of time to speed up, slow down, and stop, so it’s essential to give them space. Don’t tailgate or brake check, as it only creates a dangerous situation for both truck drivers and other road users. Trucks also need distance and space to make turns, so remember to practice driver safety by maintaining a safe distance. If you stop too close, you could risk a collision.
  • Pass safely – Don’t pass unless you can see the truck driver in your sideview mirror, and always use signals when transitioning lanes to warn other vehicles of your intentions. Avoid passing a semi-truck when going downhill, and accelerate gradually and intentionally to ensure truck driving safety.
  • Remove distractions – All vehicle operators, including truck and bus drivers, need to limit and reduce the number of distractions in their car so they can focus on driving and avoid distracted driving. Be aware of your surroundings, speed, distance, and stay off your cell phone to prioritize driver safety.
  • Stay sober – Don’t operate any vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as this impairs your decision-making and judgment. Staying sober is a fundamental aspect of responsible truck driving and road safety.

In case unfortunate accidents happen, and they sometimes do, semi-truck accidents can be particularly devastating. This is where the expertise of a tractor-trailer car accident injury attorney comes into play. An experienced St. George personal injury attorney is knowledgeable about the trucking laws in Utah and can assist not only truck drivers but also other motorists involved in trucking accidents. At McMullin Injury Law, our attorneys know how the insurance and investigative processes work when dealing with trucking accidents, allowing you to focus on recovery.

So remember these truck driving tips, practice defensive driving techniques, and prioritize driver safety when sharing the road with tractor-trailers and other commercial motor vehicles. Contact us today.