Automobile accidents between cars and big trucks favor the trucks. It’s just a matter of physics, really. Cars weigh 2-3 tons. Tractor-trailers have a weight limit of 80,000 pounds, which is 40 tons. An 80,000 pound truck, traveling at 55 miles per hour, generates 1 million foot-pounds of forward energy. Getting hit by a moving object that weighs 20 times as much as your vehicle is a recipe for death and destruction.
Here are four tips on avoiding accidents involving your vehicle and “Big Rigs:”
1. When you’re driving near a big rig, make sure that you can see his mirrors. If you can see his mirrors, then you know that he can also see you. Big rigs have enormous blind zones. If your car is in his blind zone, the trucker doesn’t know you are there.
2. Don’t stay next to a big rig while you drive. Either get behind him or move forward of him. Give him the chance to see you, and you’ll lower your chance of getting hit by his vehicle.
3. Trucks need long distances to stop. If you are in traffic, do not merge into the lane directly in front of a big rig unless you are going faster than the trucker. I’ve handled many accidents...some which were fatalities...in which a small car darted into the lane in front of a big rig and then slowed down suddenly. The trucker didn’t have any chance to slow down and avoid striking the vehicle directly in front of him.
4. Turn on your headlights while driving. “Running Lights,” as they are called, increase your visibility. Tests done on cars with running lights by the Society of Automotive Engineers showed a 38% reduction in collisions. Test results by Avis Rent-a-Car showed a 64% reduction in car damages, and a 69% decrease in repair costs for cars using running lights.
If you’ll follow these four tips, you’ll drastically lower the chance that you will have a traffic accident involving a big rig.
Drive Defensively! Watch out for the other guy!
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