Sharing the road with large trucks is a fact of life for any driver on Maryland roads. Even though there is no way to avoid sharing the road with these large vehicles, it can still be nerve-wracking – and dangerous – to drive with them.
Accidents involving trucks are almost always worse for drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2017, 4,671 people were killed in truck accidents, and 72% of these fatalities were the drivers or passengers in the other vehicle.
Unfortunately, the icy and snowy weather has led to many accidents involving trucks on Maryland roads already this season. So, here are some tips to help drivers stay safe when driving near these large vehicles.
Know the “No Zones”
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the federal organization that handles trucking regulations, describes the No Zones, or blind spots, that these large trucks have. All drivers should make sure not to drive in these spaces, which are:
- 20 feet in front of the truck;
- 30 feet behind the truck;
- In the left lane beside the truck; or
- Beside the truck in the right two lanes.
Avoiding these areas around the truck can help ensure that the truck drivers can see the vehicle.
Keep a safe distance
It is also critical for Maryland drivers to put their knowledge of the No Zones into action. Drivers should keep a safe distance between their vehicle and the truck, especially in the wintertime. This is beneficial for several reasons, including:
- It helps drivers avoid collisions from a truck’s wide turns;
- It gives trucks room and time to stop and avoid jack-knifing; and
- It allows drivers to be aware of a truck’s movements and react properly.
Giving trucks plenty of space is the most important measure that drivers can take to stay safe when sharing the road with trucks.
Pass trucks safely
In an attempt to give trucks space, many drivers attempt to pass them on highways. This is a good strategy, but passing a truck requires drivers to enter several of a truck’s No Zones. Therefore, drivers must take time to be aware of the truck’s movements and make sure they have enough space and time to pass, so they do not get stuck in a No Zone.
Of course, truck drivers are also held to strict standards to drive safely, but Maryland drivers should not assume truck drivers will drive responsibly or even see them. If drivers follow these tips and ensure they are fully focused on driving when they are behind the wheel, they can significantly increase their chances of avoiding a devastating truck accident.