Semi trucks are critical to the country’s economy. Commercial big rigs transport millions of tons of goods across the country each year. Traveling alongside large trucks, however, can come with certain safety threats to the average driver. The great size and weight disparities between a semi truck and a passenger vehicle mean the latter almost always suffers the greater damages. In 2017, semi trucks were involved in 4,657 fatal accidents in the U.S. As a driver in Dallas, learning how to safely share the road with semi trucks could save your life.
What Are Semi Truck No Zones?
A semi truck’s No Zones describe areas on all four sides of a commercial truck that passenger vehicle drivers should avoid. No Zones are a truck driver’s blind spots. A semi truck’s blind spots are enormous. A general rule to follow is if you cannot see the truck driver’s face in the truck’s side mirrors, the driver cannot see you. Do your best not to hover in the No Zones.
- 20 feet to the front of the truck
- 30 feet to the rear of the truck
- One lane to the left of the truck
- Two lanes to the right of the truck
While it may be impossible to completely stay out of a truck’s No Zones, do not hover in them for longer than is necessary. Instead, maneuver out of the No Zone as quickly as you safely can. Hovering in a blind spot puts your life at risk. Every second you spend in the No Zone could put you at risk of the semi truck merging on top of you.
What Is the Safest Distance? How to Safely Pass a Semi Truck
The safest distance to stay away from a semi truck is at least outside the parameters of its No Zones. Try to keep at least one lane away from a semi truck to the left and two to the right. When passing a big rig, maintain a safe speed. Do not drive overly fast to accelerate past a semi truck. Keep both hands on the wheel and drive in a straight line. The weight and size of the truck can create wind tunnels on its sides that may pull at your smaller car. Try to keep your vehicle’s path straight.
Pass the semi truck as quickly and efficiently as you can without speeding. Always pass on the left-hand side of the truck, not to the right. The left lane on a highway in Texas is the passing lane. Passing from the slow lane can confuse a truck driver and increase your risk of a No Zone accident. Only reenter a lane in front of a semi truck when you have put at least 20 feet between your vehicles. Merging any closer to the truck could lead to a rear-end collision. Semi trucks cannot stop as quickly as smaller vehicles.
What to Do If Involved in a Semi Truck Accident
Every year, thousands of people suffer serious injuries in semi truck accidents. You are not alone as the victim of a collision with a big rig in Dallas. Stay calm if you are involved in a semi truck accident. Get to a safe place to wait for the police to arrive. Call 911 and report any injuries if no one else has already done so. If you can, take photos and collect other information from the scene of the accident. This includes the names of other involved drivers, the name of the trucking company, the truck’s Department of Transportation number and license plate information.
Get medical care for your injuries immediately. Keep copies of your medical records to use on your claim later. Once you are able, contact an attorney to help you file a truck accident claim. Your insurance claim will require details such as the types of losses you suffered and their values. A lawyer can help you fill out claims paperwork and file it with the correct party. If the insurance company denies a fair settlement for your semi truck accident, use a lawyer to take the company to court. A truck accident lawsuit could end in fair compensation for your losses.