Winter driving in Colorado poses a number of challenges. Driving cautiously and paying attention is the best way to prevent causing an accident or being the victim of someone else's, but driving carefully around trucks looks a little different than driving carefully around passenger vehicles, making it very important that you understand how to minimize risks for truck accidents when sharing the road with commercial vehicles.
Slow Your Pace. Increase Your Distance.
When following a semi truck, give yourself at least 4 car lengths between the front of your car and the back of the trailer. Increased distance will allow you more time to stop.
If a semi is approaching you from behind, move into another lane to allow it to pass. A semi truck with a full load can weight over 80,000 pounds and, at Colorado highway speeds, may take the length of two football fields to stop. If there is not at least this distance between you and a semi truck when you come to a sudden stop, the truck may be incapable of stopping in time - especially when ice or snow are involved.
Slowing your pace around semi trucks is important as well. Try to avoid compulsively passing trucks. Instead, follow at the proper distance and pass only when safe.
Speaking of passing trucks, do so with caution. Large trucks have significant blind spots on all four sides. As a rule of thumb, if you cannot see the side mirrors on the cab, the driver of the truck cannot see you. At all. Make sure the driver can see you before you attempt to pass.
- Follow at a safe distance
- Signal your intent, making sure the trucker can see you
- Move decisively into the passing lane
- Accelerate appropriately (follow the speed limit)
- Re-enter the driving lane only after you can see the full truck in your rear-view mirror
Remember, on inclines, like along I-70, trucks will stay in the right lane with hazards on. On the decline, they’ll be hastened along by gravity. In both cases, maintaining a safe distance and controllable speed will help reduce your risks of being involved in a truck accident.
Patience and Courtesy
Trucks move slower, they take longer to get up to speed and they take longer to stop. Trucks require a larger turning radius and must sometimes move slowly, even on highways. As such, the best way to stay safe while driving around trucks is by driving patiently and courteously.
Give truckers space, both when driving and passing. Allow them the room they need to maneuver large loads just makes sense. Truckers cannot control the size or weight of their loads. Getting frustrated or angry won’t change this. Remember, every one of us benefits from the services provided by the trucking industry. Truck drivers are performing an important job. Give them the space and time they need to do it safely.
Driving courteously means:
- Avoiding all forms of distraction
- Refraining from alcohol and drug use
- Obeying all traffic signs and signals
- Following the speed limit and traffic flow
In short: Pay attention, act responsibly, and be nice. These things can go a long way in helping you avoid causing or being involved in a truck accident.
If you are injured in a truck accident in Colorado, Leventhal Sar LLC can help. Call our Denver office at 720-667-3030 for a complimentary consultation. We welcome clients from the Metro Denver area along with all surrounding Front Range and mountain corridor communities.