Tennessee traffic safety: Sharing the road with large trucks

Trucking accidents can, and often do, have dire consequences, but there are things that drivers can do to help protect themselves and others.

According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were 962 traffic-related fatalities across the state in 2015 alone. Some such deaths, as well as collisions resulting in serious injuries involve large commercial vehicles and smaller, passenger cars, trucks and SUVs. While not all truck accidents are preventable, there are several things that drivers can do to help keep themselves, their passengers and others safe while sharing the road with large trucks.

Leave ample space

Due to their large size, tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles require more room to maneuver than passenger vehicles. For example, large trucks may have to swing out to the left in order to safely turn right, and they require more distance to start, slow and stop. Drivers should be aware of these differences so they can be prepared for them when they are on the road. Allowing extra space between their vehicles and tractor trailers and refraining from crowding may help ensure they do not get caught in between the curb and these large automobiles.

Beware of blind spots

Like other automobiles, commercial vehicles have blind spots. However, these areas are much larger on 18-wheelers and other large trucks. The blind spots extend down the right and left sides of these vehicles, as well as out in front of them and to their rear. In fact, the AAA points out that truckers may be unable to see vehicles and other objects for up to 200 feet behind them. Therefore, in order to help prevent some trucking collisions, it is advisable for motorists to avoid driving in these areas unless they absolutely have to. If they do have to drive in a large truck's so-called no zones, drivers should use caution and look to move somewhere that they can be seen as soon as they are able.

Use caution when passing

Due to their large size, and other factors, passing commercial vehicles can be a bit tricky. Before making their move, drivers should ensure that they have plenty of clear road in front of them. This may help avoid a situation where they have to cut in front of a tractor trailer and must suddenly slow or stop. Furthermore, motorists should refrain from passing on large trucks' right sides whenever possible. Since they have sizeable blind spots on their right sides, truckers may be unable to see motorists who are attempting to maneuver past them on that side.

Seeking legal guidance

When people in Tennessee are involved in trucking accidents, they may suffer serious injuries that require medical treatment. The costs of such care can add up quickly, and those injured may also lose income while they are off of work recovering. In order to understand their rights for pursuing financial compensation, those who have experienced such situations may benefit from consulting with an attorney.