It’s Business, And It’s Personal

Four tips to safely share North Carolina roads with large trucks


Trucking collisions are all too common, and often devastating, but there are things drivers can do to improve their safety when traveling with large trucks.

Four tips to safely share North Carolina roads with large trucks

Large commercial trucks have the ability to cause large crashes. The North Carolina Department of Transportation reports there were 4,236 semitrailer-involved collisions across the state in 2015 alone. Due to the size difference between these large trucks and smaller, passenger automobiles, trucking accidents often result in serious injuries or death for the occupants of the smaller vehicles involved. Although some such wrecks are unavoidable, there are things drivers can do to help improve their safety when they are sharing the roads with tractor-trailers.

Do not cut in

It takes a distance of nearly two football fields for fully loaded semitrailers to stop when they are traveling at highway speeds and the conditions are favorable, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These large trucks may require more distance to stop safely in inclement weather or otherwise poor road conditions. Drivers should be cognizant of the extra distance it takes tractor-trailers to slow and stop, and avoid cutting in front of them. This may help them avoid potentially serious rear-end collisions.

Be aware of the blind spots

Many tractor-trailers have large blind spots on all four sides, significantly limiting their operators’ visibility. These areas may extend up to 20 feet in the front, 30 feet to the rear, down the left-hand side and across two lanes of traffic to the right. To prevent large commercial vehicles from unknowingly moving into their automobiles, drivers should use extra caution when they are passing or being passed by them. Further, they should take care not to travel in trucks’ blind spots for extended distances if they are able to avoid it.

Allow extra space

Due to their large size and longer length, semitrailers do not have the same maneuverability as smaller passenger vehicles. In fact, they have a turning radius of 55 feet. Further, the cab track and the trailer track may not run along the same path when these large trucks are turning. Therefore, motorists are advised to allow tractor-trailers ample space to maneuver. This is particularly necessary in areas with space restrictions, including service stations and work zones.

Be patient when passing

Since tractor-trailers are longer than the average vehicle, it takes longer to pass them than it takes to pass other cars, trucks and SUVs. Thus, drivers should make sure there is ample clear road in front of them before attempting to maneuver past a large commercial truck. This may help ensure they are able to safely complete the pass, and avoid them having to suddenly slow or stop in front of the semitrailer or being unable to react to a hazard in time to avoid a truck accident.

Seeking legal guidance

When people in North Carolina are involved in trucking collisions, they may suffer serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment and time to recover. As a result, they may incur medical expenses they were not prepared for, as well as lose income while they are off work. In some situations, the truckers responsible for causing such accidents or the trucking companies may be held liable for these, and other resulting damages. Therefore, those who have been injured in such wrecks may benefit from discussing their rights and options with an attorney.