A driver is about to miss their exit, driving in the left lane of the interstate. There is a semi-truck in the right lane. In a panic, the driver speeds ahead of the truck, cuts it off, and then slams on the brakes to slow down for the exit.
You see this all too often. It’s one of the most dangerous things any driver can do. Remember, a truck might weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Even with excellent brakes and an attentive driver, they just cannot slow down fast enough to avoid a rear-end crash.
When drivers try to take evasive action, that’s when you often see them jackknife, lose control and drive off of the roadway. In short, that one car’s mistake puts a lot of people in danger. Drivers must be aware of truck stopping distances, and they must give them enough room. A few tips from safety professionals include:
- Never merge back in front of a truck until the entire front of the cab is visible in the mirror.
- Never drive within 20 feet of the front bumper, where the truck driver likely can’t see you at all.
- Never slow down immediately after passing a truck. Cars can slow down much faster and it may feel safe, but trucks can’t mimic that quick reduction in speed.
- Always remember that stopping distances for trucks are going to be longer than cars at stop signs, red lights and all other sorts of controls.
These tips can help, but many drivers still make the mistakes noted above and cause truck accidents, even when the truck hits the car from behind. Truck drivers who get accused of causing the crash after this type of accident must know what legal defense options they have.