Driving on the highway is convenient. Generally, you don’t have to worry about busy intersections, bicyclists or pedestrians. But there’s one thing that can make highway driving treacherous: semi trucks. While many truck drivers are well-trained and skilled, even the best drivers struggle with blind spots. Semi trucks are large and have multiple blind spots around their trucks. Obviously, there are situations where it’s difficult to see smaller passenger vehicles, and this can lead to unsafe lane changes.
Unsafe lane changes are common in Texas, causing many serious truck accidents. Some lead to multiple car pile-ups, and others lead to serious injuries and even death. Some of these wrecks are caused by experienced drivers, or drivers who are fighting fatigue or distraction. Before they know it, they have pushed one vehicle into another, or off the road.
Avoiding Lane Change Accidents
A truck driver can move into your lane at any second, causing major damage and injuries. While you may not be able to avoid every accident, here are some tips that can help.
- Stay away from trucks. If you need to move around one, do so efficiently. Don’t hang out directly behind one or along the side for longer than you need to. If you can’t see the driver, chances are he can’t see you either.
- Don’t cut off a semi truck. Trucks cannot slow down as quickly as smaller passenger vehicles. When maneuvering around a semi truck, it’s best to provide them plenty of following distance before you merge in front of them. This is especially true during rush hour times when traffic and come to a sudden stop.
- Don’t suddenly brake in front of truck. Be aware of your surroundings – including what’s in front of you, what’s aside you, and what’s behind you. Truck drivers are trained to maintain ample following distance between them and the cars in front of them. However, in busy traffic situations, if you merge directly in front of a truck and traffic comes to a halt, you could end up rear-ended if the semi truck is not able to slow down quickly enough.
- Reduce speed when approaching a truck. Trucks are slower than you think. While you may have a habit of anticipating the actions of cars in front of you, lower your speed when approaching a semi truck from behind because they tend to accelerate slowly and take corners slowly. Running into the back of a semi truck can be lethal.
Concerns Over Self-Driving Trucks
Semi trucks with humans at the wheel are dangerous enough. Just like autonomous vehicles are being used in cities, self-driving trucks could become a reality in the near future. What happens when a computer is at the realm, navigating highways across the country with thousands of other vehicles?
While human error is the cause of many truck accidents, there is more to driving a semi truck than driving in a straight line. There are other vehicles to consider and various human judgement calls required to safely navigate a large truck. What if there is a construction zone? How would a truck know when to change lanes? How will it maintain proper speeds and exit the highway and merge onto other roads?
With the trucking industry experiencing a shortage of qualified truck drivers, self-driving trucks solve a problem. However, it’s hopeful that manufacturers will conduct a significant amount of testing before allowing these large vehicles to travel roadways without human guidance.
Let Our Austin, Texas Personal Injury Lawyers Help You Today
A truck accident can cause serious injuries and even death. If you or a loved one was involved in such a crash, seek legal help immediately. You are not alone. We can help. The Austin personal injury attorneys at DC Law can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact our office through our website, or by calling at (512) 220-1800 to schedule your free legal consultation.