THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF SHARING COLORADO ROADS WITH LARGE TRUCKS
On behalf of Paul Wilkinson at The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm, LLC
Trucking accidents are all too common in Colorado and may result in serious injuries, but there are things that drivers can do to safely share the roads.
Each day, motorists in Colorado and across the U.S. share the streets and highways with commercial vehicles. Unfortunately, collisions involving these large trucks and smaller, passenger automobiles are all too common and often result in serious injuries or death for those involved. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that of the more than 370,000 motor vehicle accidents that occurred in 2012 involved at least one commercial vehicle. While not all such wrecks can be prevented, there are some things that drivers can do to safely share the roads with large trucks.
Do allow large trucks ample room to stop
Generally, large commercial vehicles require more room to stop than cars, trucks and SUVs. The Colorado Driver Handbook points out that loaded trucks may need a minimum of 290 feet to stop when they are traveling at 55 mph. It is important that drivers keep this in mind to help them avoid some truck accidents. Motorists should refrain from suddenly stopping when driving in front of large trucks as much as possible.
Do not drive in the no zones
Tractor trailers have blind spots in the front, on both sides and in the rear. When they are in these areas, or so-called no zones, people’s vehicles may disappear or be too close. This may restrict the ability of truckers to safely maneuver their vehicles, which may result in trucking collisions. Therefore, it is recommended that drivers refrain from traveling in large trucks’ blind spots for extended periods of time.
Do use caution when passing
Although their size is plainly visible, many people underestimate the time it takes to pass large trucks. Before attempting to pass these vehicles, it is important for people to make certain they have enough time and open road in front of them. This may help prevent situations in which they have to cut back in front of a tractor trailer and stop or slow suddenly.
Do not cut in between trucks and curbs
Operating tractor trailers is different than driving smaller automobiles. Sometimes, truckers may have to move to the left in order to make a right-hand turn or they may leave extra space between their vehicles and the curb in order to make safe turns. In some cases, drivers may see this space as an opening to cut in and turn. However, this may increase their risk of crashing. Therefore, motorists should watch for signals in order to determine truckers’ intentions and refrain from cutting in between large trucks and curbs.
Do prepare for wind gusts
Especially when they are traveling at high rates of speed, commercial vehicles often create turbulence. These wind gusts may cause unprepared motorists to lose control of their vehicles. Thus, it is advisable for people to keep both hands on the wheel and expect turbulence when they are passing large trucks, or are being passed by these vehicles.
Consult with an attorney
As a result of truck accidents, people in Colorado may suffer injuries that require extensive medical care. This may result in lost income, medical bills and other damages for which the trucker could be held liable. Thus, it may benefit those who have experienced such situations to work with an attorney. A lawyer may help ensure their rights are protected and explain their options for pursuing financial compensation.