What To Do When Driving Behind a Semi-Truck

When driving behind a semi-truck, it is important to do everything you can to keep yourself safe. This can be a dangerous scenario—and, if you aren’t being careful, you could suddenly find yourself in a situation where you are helpless to avoid a serious accident.

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Here are seven safety tips for driving behind a semi-truck in Arkansas:

Safety Tip #1: Make Sure You Can See the Truck’s Mirrors

If you cannot see a truck’s rearview mirrors, then there is a good chance that the truck driver cannot see you. When driving behind a semi-truck, it is important to make sure (or at least try to make sure) that the truck driver knows you are there. If you are following too closely, the truck driver may not be able to see you, and this could put you and your passengers in danger. 

Safety Tip #2: Pass On the Left 

When you are driving behind a semi-truck and you decide to pass, you should generally pass on the left. The truck driver will expect you to pass on the left, and you want to try to be as predictable as possible. If you try to pass on the right unexpectedly, the truck driver might not be looking (even though he or she should be looking), and this could put you and your passengers in danger as well.  

Safety Tip #3: Let Tailgaters Pass You

If you are driving behind a semi-truck and someone else is tailgating you, you should let them pass when it is safe to do so. You should not speed up and start tailgating the semi-truck. Not only isn’t this going to make the truck driver go faster; but, as noted above, it may also put you in the truck driver’s blind spot. Instead, you should prioritize your safety—and let the tailgater go on his or her way.

Safety Tip #4: Use Your Turn Signals 

While you should always use your turn signals, it can be especially important to use your turn signals when driving behind a semi-truck. Drivers behind you may be attempting to pass, and if you change lanes without signaling, they may hit you from the rear. Similarly, if the semi-truck driver is trying to get over at the same time you are, he or she may start changing lanes just as you attempt to pass.

Safety Tip #5: Watch for Signs of Distracted, Fatigued, or Unsafe Truck Driving

Truck drivers spend countless hours in the driver’s seat. As a result, they are prone to getting distracted, and fatigue is a significant concern as well. 

Whether due to distraction, fatigue, impairment, recklessness, or carelessness, truck drivers are prone to making mistakes behind the wheel. These mistakes can be extremely dangerous; and, when you are driving behind a semi-truck, it is important to try to identify the signs of unsafe truck driving as quickly as possible.

Safety Tip #6: Watch for Signs of Cargo-Related Safety Hazards

Along with signs of unsafe truck driving, it is also important to watch for signs of cargo-related safety hazards. If you notice that a semi-truck’s cargo is loose or that the trailer is weaving from side to side, this is a sign that you should slow down or change lanes immediately. Shifting cargo can make it nearly impossible for truck drivers to maintain control, while cargo spilling into the road can be a hazard to everyone in the truck’s vicinity.  

Safety Tip #7: Follow the Rules of the Road 

Finally, any time you are following a semi-truck, you should do your part and follow the rules of the road. Put down your phone, wear your seatbelt, and prioritize safety over speed. If you are doing everything you can to keep yourself and your passengers safe, this will significantly reduce your risk of being involved in a serious accident. 

Of course, no matter what you do, there will always be factors that are beyond your control. From truck driver negligence to cargo-related issues, there are numerous factors that can leave you helpless to avoid a collision. As a result, regardless of the circumstances involved, if you are ever involved in a truck accident, you should speak with a lawyer about your legal rights.

Read More: What Damages Can I Recover in a Semi Truck Accident Case?

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If you or a member of your family has been involved in a semi-truck accident in Arkansas, we encourage you to contact us for a FREE, no-obligation consultation

To discuss your legal rights with an experienced truck accident lawyer in confidence, please call 479-202-5200 or tell us how we can reach you online today.