How to safely share Oklahoma’s roads with truckers

Trucking accidents can result in serious or fatal injuries for other drivers, however, there are steps people can take to help share the roads safely.

Every day, drivers throughout Oklahoma share the roads and highways with commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers. All too often, collisions occur involving these large vehicles and smaller passenger automobiles. As a result, the truckers themselves, and other drivers and passengers, may suffer serious or fatal injuries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 2,800 people who were occupants in other vehicles were killed in trucking accidents in 2012. During that same year, 76,000 occupants of other vehicles were injured in collisions involving commercial vehicles. While not all of these wrecks are preventable, there are steps that drivers can do to help share the road safely with large commercial vehicles.

Semitrucks Are Not Just Large Cars

People who have never driven a large truck often believe that they handle as if they were just larger passenger vehicles. However, tractor-trailers are generally more difficult to steer than smaller automobiles, and they take longer to stop. As such, drivers should give these vehicles a wider berth. By not following too closely, cutting off or abruptly stopping in front of semitrailers, drivers allow truckers the space they require to safely maneuver and stop their vehicles.

Stay Out Of Blind Spots

Most automobiles have blind spots, or areas where the drivers are unable to see, even using their mirrors. Commercial vehicles have sizeable blind spots, or no zones, in the front and rear, as well as on both sides. According to the American Automobile Association, the rear no zone on trucks extends up to 200 feet behind them.

In general, it is advisable for drivers to avoid traveling for extended periods in these no zones. Doing so may help ensure that truckers can see them so that they do not mistakenly turn into or cut off their vehicles.

Practice Safe Passing

Passing commercial vehicles, or being passed by them, can be dangerous for Oklahoma motorists. In order to avoid trucking collisions, it is important for people to avoid cutting in front of trucks when passing them. It can take commercial vehicles twice as long to stop as smaller cars. As such, truckers may be unable to stop safely if a car passes them and then brakes suddenly. Therefore, it is advisable for drivers to leave four car lengths, or more, between the rears of their vehicles and the fronts of any trucks they pass.

Sometimes, people speed up when a large truck is passing them. Instead, however, it can be helpful for them to slow down and stay to the right. This helps to ensure the truckers have enough time and space to pass safely. It also helps drivers get out of a truck's blind spots quicker.

Working With An Attorney

Even the safest of Oklahoma drivers may be involved in a collision with a large commercial vehicle, which could result in serious injuries or death. This may lead to undue expenses, including medical or funeral costs. Depending on the circumstances, the trucker, or the trucking company, may be held financially responsible for the resulting damages. As such, those who have experienced situations such as this may benefit from seeking legal guidance. An attorney may explain their rights and help them understand their options.