Q: I often get very nervous while driving near large tractor trailers on Houston’s highways. What can I do to stay safe near these huge vehicles?
If you are nervous driving next to tractor trailers and other large trucks while on the Beltway or any of Houston’s major roads, you are far from alone. These trucks are an intimidating presence on highways across the country, and Houston’s heavy traffic only means that we must drive even closer to these large machines.
Fortunately, most truck drivers in Houston are very skilled at what they do. Even the best truck driver, however, requires smart driving from the cars surrounding his or her rig in order to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. With the busy holidays in full swing, more trucks and cars are crowding onto our highways, and it becomes even more important that drivers respect the size and limited maneuvering abilities of these trucks.
In the Lead
Many people do not realize that driving in front of trucks is just as risky as driving beside them—if they do not follow proper conduct. Trucks are very heavy and large vehicles that need more braking distance than cars. If you are driving in front of a truck, keep these things in mind:
- Do not cut right in front of a truck. Leave yourself at least 25 yards between your car and the truck.
- When changing lanes in front of a truck, be sure that you can see both of the truck’s headlights in your rearview mirror before switching.
Passing a Truck
Note that this section is not titled “Beside a Truck,” and that is for a reason. You should never drive directly beside a truck unless it is to pass the vehicle. This is because trucks have significant blind spots, the worst of which are on either side of the trailer. Remember:
- If you cannot see the truck driver’s face in the truck’s mirrors, he or she cannot see you—this mirror rule is the “golden rule” of driving around trucks.
- Only pass on the left—not only is it the law in most states, but the blind side on a truck’s right side is much bigger than on the left.
Behind (Way Behind) a Truck
You probably notice people following trucks at a distance of a few car lengths, at best. When following a truck on the highway, make sure that you are well behind it—blind spots behind the truck extend a long distance, so the mirror rule is a must.
Whether you are navigating the busy streets of downtown Houston or cruising down I-45, keep in mind that the truck drivers you share the road with want to stay safe, too. While you should be mindful around these big rigs, there is no need to be nervous if you are actively aware of your proximity to the truck.
If you have been hurt in an accident involving a truck, however, you will need a skilled and experienced lawyer to help you recover the damages that you deserve. Houston tractor trailer accident attorney Steve Lee has represented Houston residents for over 40 years, and will help you attain peace of mind following your traumatic truck accident. Call now at 800-232-3711 for a free consultation.