Safety Precautions Around 18-Wheelers & Semi Trucks

Be extra cautious and alert while driving near semi trucks.

When driving close to a huge 18-wheeler, semi truck, or tractor trailer on the highway, many of us get an uneasy feeling. This happens for a good reason. These vehicles are incredibly dangerous and we should absolutely be extra cautious when we are driving anywhere near them. If a tire blows, if a driver nods off or becomes distracted, if the load in the back of the truck becomes unbalanced, the chances of catastrophe are great.

There is very little we can do to control these things besides operate our own vehicles with extra caution and avoid tangling with these huge beasts. Always be extra attentive and drive your vehicle responsibly when around such massive trucks. Never act out of impatience or make rash decisions, as semi truck drivers are very often unable to get their vehicles to react as quickly as needed. You need to make sure that your own actions do not contribute to causing an accident.

The best way to protect yourself and your family and avoid an accident with a semi truck is to observe the following suggestions:

Stay a safe distance away

Once you realize that semi trucks can carry up to 80,000 pounds, cautiously staying a safe distance away from them should not be too difficult. Any vehicle of that size and weight can do an incredible amount of damage. Braking quickly is not the forte of these vehicles, so try not to drive near these vehicles for very long. If you need to pass, do it as quickly as possible while remaining safe. Always leave a lot of space ahead of the semi truck.

Remain in the semi’s field of vision

Obviously the blind spots of these vehicles will be significantly larger than for standard vehicles. As a rule of thumb you should remember that you should be able to see the semi truck driver in his or her mirrors. If you cannot see them, they cannot see you.

You should pay extra attention to a semi truck’s turn signals so that you can provide enough room for the truck to safely change lanes or turn.

Take road and weather conditions into consideration

Weather conditions that affect roads and driving like rain, snow, sleet, fog, smoke, etc., greatly increase the risk of an accident because you are less able to control your vehicle, truck drivers will be less able to control their own vehicles, and there is decreased visibility. Always drive slowly and carefully and be sure to leave plenty of room between your car and other vehicles on the road.

Another tip is to get into the left lane when a truck is entering the highway from an entrance ramp.

Be prepared

Prepare for the unexpected. This is just a reiteration of “be extra cautious and alert,” because becoming complacent or distracted is one of the worst things drivers can do.  Always allow extra time and space and expect the unexpected. Tire blowouts or loose debris are not uncommon when it comes to 18 wheelers or other large semis, so be aware, it may save your life.

St. Louis Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in an accident with a semi truck, contact a St. Louis truck accident attorney right away. While there are things you can do to stay safer, there are many regulations that truck drivers must follow. They have a major responsibility to take actions that protect other drivers as well. If a truck driver is negligent and causes an accident you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries and other losses related to the accident. A Missouri semi truck accident attorney can assess the situation and protect your legal rights.

To speak with a truck accident lawyer, call the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300.


Contact us regarding a free consultation.