With Interstate 65 and US 30 running right through it, Merrillville sees a great deal of semi truck traffic. These big rigs haul freight across the state, making it possible for consumers to easily access goods. In fact, according to Popular Mechanics, semi trucks deliver 68 percent of all goods in the U.S. It’s easy to see that we all benefit on a daily basis from the hard work of these tractor trailer drivers who, in 2014, drove about 279 million miles.
It is important to remember that it takes a good deal of practice as well as special certification in order to be able to drive one of these trucks. With the potential to weigh up to 80,000 pounds, an 18-wheeler can be very dangerous when not in the hands of a trained driver. However, even when driven by an experienced operator, semi trucks can be involved in accidents, and these accidents are often particularly devastating. Car vs. semi accidents can result in traumatic injuries that leave the injured feeling hopeless. Amputations, paralysis, or even brain injuries are not uncommon following semi truck accidents.
How can you stay safe when sharing the road with a semi truck? Here are a few safety tips.
1. Avoid the Truck’s Blind Spots
You’re hopefully well aware of the blind spots on your own vehicle, but it’s important to be aware of the blind spots of a semi truck as well. The blind spot on the right side of a semi truck is particularly large and typically covers two lanes of traffic on most highways. Avoid driving on the right side of a semi truck if at all possible.
On most passenger vehicles, the blind spots in front and back of the car are so short that other vehicles are almost always visible to the driver. However, the blind spots on a semi truck are comparatively huge. Also, being in a truck’s blind spot behind the vehicle creates new blind spots for yourself. Even if you’re tailgating a car (which you should never do), you can usually still see ahead of it. However, if you’re driving too close to a semi truck, its cargo will likely block your view extensively. You may roll through red lights or stop signs unintentionally because you can’t anticipate them. Make sure to give a semi truck the space it needs so the truck driver can see you and you can still see your surroundings.
If you choose to pass a semi truck, pass on the left only, and pass quickly. Don’t speed recklessly, but don’t dawdle in the left lane next to a semi truck or else the truck driver might not be able to see you.
2. Prepare for Wide Turns
Because trucks have to make wide turns, some people think they can pass a truck on the right while the truck is swinging wide to turn. However, passing on the right is incredibly dangerous and will likely result in an accident.
You should also stop short of the white line at intersections so semi trucks turning onto your road don’t accidentally hit your vehicle. A semi truck’s wide turn makes it easy for the semi to accidentally drive outside of the lane it’s aiming for during the turn. By overshooting the line, you risk being hit by the semi.
3. Give the Truck Plenty of Space, Especially in Bad Weather
We already talked about respecting the space of a semi truck and not dawdling in its blind spots. However, in bad weather, this is even more important. Like the rest of Indiana, Merrillville is no stranger to poor, fast-changing weather conditions. In fact, Merrillville residents typically have it worse than other Hoosiers due to the town’s proximity to Lake Michigan. If the rest of the state gets a couple of inches of powder, Merrillville and the rest of Lake County know what it’s like to get covered in feet of lake-effect snow.
Bad weather typically doesn’t stop semi trucks from transporting their cargo, so it’s important to adapt to stay safe. If a semi truck is empty or lightly loaded, it may be susceptible to high winds. Try not to drive next to the semi truck on the left or the right if high winds are making it swerve in its lane.
Semi trucks may also not be able to stop as quickly in rainy or snowy conditions. If you’re driving in front of a semi truck, make sure you can see the entire cab in your rear-view mirror. That’s a good measure to tell you if you’re a safe distance away from the semi truck. Also, consider that your ability to stop will also likely be impaired by bad weather. Keep a safe distance between yourself and any semi trucks in front of you so you have time to stop suddenly if they do.
How a Merrillville Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured following a semi truck accident, call the experienced team of attorneys at Hensley Legal Group today. With an office located in Merrillville, we are ready to help you at a moment’s notice.
An accident involving a tractor trailer is not handled the same way that a typical car-on-car collision is handled. Don’t let a lawyer who is unfamiliar with truck accidents mishandle your case. If you were injured in a semi truck accident, call a Merrillville truck accident attorney at Hensley Legal Group today, or contact us online for a free consultation.