Beebe and O'Neil

How to safely share Connecticut roads with large trucks

Collisions involving large commercial trucks and smaller cars, trucks and SUVs are all too common in Connecticut, and throughout the U.S. Often, it is the occupants of the smaller automobiles who suffer the potentially devastating consequences of such wrecks. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 137 of the 248 people that died as a result of Connecticut truck accidents in 2014 were occupants in passenger vehicles. Although not all such collisions can be avoided, there are things drivers can do to safely share the road with large trucks.

Like most other vehicles, commercial trucks have blind spots. On these large vehicles, however, these areas extend on both sides, in the front and in the rear. When other motorists are in large trucks’ blind spots, the truckers may be unable to see their vehicles. As a result, they may not be able to take evasive action to avoid a collision if there is a change in driving conditions or an emergency situation. Therefore, it is advisable for drivers to refrain from traveling in these so-called no zones for extended periods whenever possible.

Many drivers fail to realize that operating and maneuvering tractor trailers is significantly different than driving even a large passenger vehicle. The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles points out that large commercial vehicles require more time and space to stop than cars. It is important for other motorists to be aware of this, particularly when they are passing large trucks. If a driver cuts in front of a tractor trailer and then suddenly stops or slows, the trucker may not have the space necessary to avoid a serious collision.

Due to their size, large trucks may create wind gusts as they travel down the road, particularly if they are driving at highway speeds. For an unsuspecting driver, the turbulence created by commercial vehicles may cause them to lose control of their vehicles. Thus, it is recommended for motorists to ensure they have both hands on the wheel and are prepared for the possibility of wind gusts when they are driving past oncoming tractor trailers.

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