Four tips for safely sharing the road with large trucks in Tennessee


While some trucking accidents are unavoidable, there are things drivers can do that may help improve their safety.

All too often, tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles are involved in collisions with passenger automobiles on the roads throughout Tennessee. Due to the size differences between the vehicles, such wrecks often result in serious injuries or death for the occupants of the smaller cars and trucks. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that the seven out of 10 trucking accident fatalities are the other automobiles’ drivers or passengers. Not all large truck-involved crashes are preventable, but there are things people can do that may help improve their safety when sharing the road with commercial vehicles.

Maintain a safety cushion

While most people can clearly see that semitrailers are large vehicles, many do not understand how that affects their maneuverability. However, they require more room to move and turn than smaller passenger cars, and the cabs and trailers may not always run along the same track. Therefore, it is suggested that drivers allow large trucks a wider berth than they allow other automobiles. Further, they should refrain from attempting to squeeze past them as doing so may result in serious collisions.

Do not cut in front
Cutting in front of another vehicle is always somewhat dangerous. However, it may be even more hazardous for drivers to cut in front of commercial trucks. Their size and weight, among other factors, contribute to semitrailers needing more space to safely slow or stop than cars and trucks. The American Automobile Association, or AAA, points out that these large trucks may require a distance of up to 700 feet to stop when traveling on the highway. Therefore, motorists should take care not to cut in front of tractor-trailers. This may help them avoid potentially serious rear-end collisions should hazards unexpectedly appear in the road or the traffic conditions suddenly change.

Stay out of the no-zones
To their immediate front, as well as in the rear and on both sides, commercial vehicles have large blind spots that are commonly referred to as no-zones. Since truckers may not be able to see their automobiles while they are in these areas, it may be dangerous for motorists to travel in them for extended periods. Therefore, it is suggested that drivers stay out of the no-zones unless it is absolutely necessary. They should be aware that truckers may be unable to see them when they cannot see their vehicles’ side mirrors.

Use caution when passing

Due to their length, it generally takes longer to pass tractor-trailers than it takes to pass a car or truck, which can make this maneuver somewhat hazardous. When drivers are passing large trucks, they should make certain they have ample clear road in front of them to pass and move safely back into the lane. Some truckers may flash their lights at passing vehicles to indicate they are cleared to move back over. As semitrailers are passing their automobiles, motorists should reduce their speed slightly and stay to the far right side of their lane.

Seeking legal guidance

When Tennessee trucking accidents result in serious injuries, people may require extensive medical treatment and be forced to take time off work to heal. This may lead to medical bills and other unexpected expenses, as well as lost income. Therefore, those who have been injured in collisions involving large trucks may find it helpful to discuss their legal options with an attorney.