Safely Sharing the Road with Semis

Sharing the Road with Semis

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

May 15, 2023

Experienced Denver Truck Accident Lawyers

When Driving Around Semi-Trucks, Be Safe

According to the Colorado Department of Highway Safety and Motor Cars, approximately 32,000 traffic accidents involving large trucks happened on Colorado highways in 2017, according to the Colorado Department of Highway Safety and Motor Cars (FLHSMV). Approximately 500 of the collisions resulted in severe injuries, while 27 collisions resulted in one or more deaths. In El Paso County, where Denver is situated, there were 1,420 commercial car collisions in the last year, resulting in 364 injuries and six fatalities.

After a car and truck collided and drove over the railing into oncoming traffic while heading the same way on I-75, seven people were killed; five were children. Because the two individuals killed in the disaster were the semi’s and another truck’s drivers, police have struggled to determine the actual cause of the accident.

Semi-truck accidents may happen for several causes. In some circumstances, the truck driver is to blame for the collision; in others, another motorist is to blame. The great majority of truck accidents may be avoided, regardless of who is to blame.

Although you do not influence what semi drivers do behind the wheel, you may assist in minimizing truck accidents by adopting some precautions when driving. Here are ten recommendations for safely sharing the road with semis, as well as what to do if you’re in a semi accident:

Don’t Drive in the Blind Spots of a Semi-Truck

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), passenger cars travelling in a truck’s blind areas, known as no-zones, cause nearly one-third of all traffic accidents involving cars and heavy trucks.

Remember that all cars have blind spots, but because of the size of the cab and trailer, the blind spots on a semi-truck are substantially greater, and drivers don’t have rearview mirrors or back windows to quickly check their blind spots before turning or changing lanes.

It’s hard to avoid semis’ blind areas while driving on the highway. You may, however, ensure that you drive by them without stopping. Blind spots on a semi are found right in front of the cab, extending approximately 20 feet forward, below the driver’s window, virtually the whole passenger side of the semi, and directly behind the trailer, extending about 30 feet back.

When Passing a Semi-Truck, Be Careful

To safely share the road with a truck, you must pass them such that you do not loiter in any of their blind areas. When passing a truck, make sure you see the driver in his side mirror since this indicates that he can see you.

Before changing lanes, use your turn signal and drive safely and swiftly past the car. Allow additional room by not pulling back in front of the car until you see it in your rearview mirror.

Never utilize the right lane to pass a truck on a highway or interstate with more than two lanes since the driver will most likely not be able to see you. When going downgrades, you should also avoid passing trucks. Trucks gather up speed as they drive downhill, so if you pass, you’ll almost certainly go above the speed limit.

When passing a truck parked on the side of the road, it’s also a good idea to remain to the left. A semi driver delivering almond milk pulled over to the side of the road for a medical issue in a recent truck accident in Denver.

Another semi collided with the car, spilling almond milk, and then a third semi collided with the truck. Other truck drivers were engaged in this scenario, but passenger car drivers may have easily crushed the stopped truck. Pass as far to the left as possible in these cases, and inform law police to assist the motorist.

Don’t Cut a Semi-Truck Off

Cutting off any motor car may result in an accident, but cutting off a large rig is particularly risky. Semi-trucks need additional time and space to respond to other cars because of their immense size and weight.

Cutting off a truck places you in front of their cab’s blind area; even if the driver sees you, he may not be able to slow down quickly enough to prevent a collision that might result in serious and catastrophic injuries and/or death.

Maintain a Safe Separation Between Your Car and Semi-Trucks

Semi-trucks, as previously said, need more time and space to halt or respond to sudden movements. When following a semi, you must maintain a safe distance to share the road safely. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration advises that you leave at least a four-second buffer between your car and the trailer.

To prevent a collision caused by a tire blowout or other mechanical problem, maintain your distance on the opposite sides of the car as well. If you’re not too near to a truck driver who loses control, you may be able to prevent a collision.

When approaching semi-trucks, dim your headlights.

When strong lights reflect off a semi-big truck’s mirrors, truck drivers are temporarily blinded for two or more seconds. A motorist may lose control of his car or swerve and collide with anything due to this, resulting in a hazardous accident. If you’re following a truck, make sure your headlights are muted if you’re within a quarter-mile of the trailer’s rear end.

Don’t Forget to Use Your Turn Signals

When driving, it’s easy to get complacent and forget to utilize your turn signals. Not only is it illegal, but failing to utilize your turn signals around a truck puts you in danger of causing an accident. Semis take longer to react to cars that stop, turn, or merge. You may safely share the road with semis when you utilize your signals at least three seconds before changing lanes or turning.

Keep an eye out for semi-trucks making wide turns at corners.

Semis must often swing wide to the left when making a right-hand turn to avoid veering off the road. When approaching a junction with a truck, keep in mind where its blind zones are. Allow adequate space for the motorist to turn safely. If you go too near behind or to the left of a truck, not only will the driver miss you, but there’s a good chance you’ll collide.

Don’t Drive While Intoxicated

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol endangers all other drivers on the road, but driving under the influence while trucks are present is extremely dangerous. Inebriated drivers often make unpredictable moves and abandon their lanes. Truck drivers may not always have enough stopping space to avoid colliding with unpredictable drivers. You also limit your response time to threats when you use drugs or drink. You may collide with a truck if it suffers a mechanical breakdown, a tire blowout, parks on the side of the road with safety reflector signs, or performs any other unexpected action. You put yourself in danger for a rear-end, broadside, or sideswipe accident, any of which might result in an underride crash, depending on the conditions. A passenger car is pulled along the road after colliding with the trailer in these sometimes catastrophic collisions.

Avoid Distractions While Driving

Driving when distracted is just as dangerous to other road users as driving while intoxicated. Truck drivers are not allowed to use cell phones while driving unless they utilize the hands-free mode on their phones. In Colorado, texting while driving is unlawful, but it is a secondary violation, which means that police officials cannot stop you for it. Cell phones are only one kind of distraction that might cause a collision between a car and a truck. Adjusting the radio, conversing with passengers, reaching for anything on the floor or in the backseat, using a GPS, eating, drinking, and several other distractions may divert a driver’s attention from the road. Avoid distractions when driving to safely share the road with semis; it might save your life.

Do not drive if you are tired.

Because of their busy schedules, which sometimes involve night-time travelling, truck drivers deal with sleepy and fatigued driving, but other motorists do as well. Rolling down the window, sipping coffee, rocking out to loud music on the radio, or phoning a buddy and talking are all common clichés for keeping awake while driving. These tactics only work in the short term and may lead to a more difficult scenario in the future. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 18 hours of sleep deprivation is equivalent to a 0.08 blood alcohol content. When you’re fatigued, pull over to sleep to stay safe on the road and prevent accidents with semis.

Steps to Take Immediately Following a Semi-Truck Accident

Even if you drive cautiously, obey all traffic regulations, and use extra caution around semis, you might be involved in a semi-truck accident. The typical semi weighs 20 to 30 times heavier than the average passenger car depending on the freight load. This added weight causes traffic collisions, which often result in serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries. If you are fortunate enough to escape a collision with a large truck, you should take the following actions until you can speak with an attorney:

Seek medical assistance

After a truck accident, you may feel great, but you should see a doctor be sure. Some injuries, particularly head traumas, might not show symptoms right away. This also acts as injury paperwork that you may require for your insurance company or a potential lawsuit.

Report the accident to the authorities

Law enforcement was very certainly called to the site of your collision, particularly if it happened on the highway. Make sure you tell the police everything about the accident and acquire a copy of the police report.

Collect evidence

Although law enforcement will have all of the truck driver’s information, you should write down his or her name, residence, employment, insurance information, license plate number, and other pertinent information. Take photographs of the wreckage, car plates, and any obvious injuries using your phone.

Claim with your insurance company

Because Colorado is a no-fault insurance jurisdiction, the first step in recouping costs from a truck accident is to claim your state-mandated medical payments coverage (MedPay) coverage. MedPay insurance in Colorado only pays for 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost income. If you wish to seek further compensation, you’ll need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Furthermore, insurance providers may be deceptive. It’s to your best advantage to engage a lawyer as soon as possible after filing your claim. Your lawyer can communicate with all insurance providers and ensure that their settlement offers are reasonable. Your lawyer may also help you decide whether it’s the right time to take your claim to court as a personal injury case.

After then, get the legal help you need. Semi-truck collision in Colorado

Being involved in a semi-truck collision may be a life-changing experience. You and your family may suffer financial challenges while dealing with the anguish of physical injuries and recovery. Medical costs mount, you’re unable to work due to your accident, and your MedPay policy doesn’t cover all of your losses.

Allowing an expert personal injury attorney to handle your case can relieve your worry. Following a truck accident, our company may be able to assist you by helping you through the insurance claims process, researching the accident, contacting possible witnesses, obtaining expert opinions on injuries, future medical bills, guilt, and more.

According to Colorado law, you have four years from the date of your injuries to file a case. Don’t wait since the opportunity to file a lawsuit expires rapidly, and the sooner you move, the higher your chances of a favorable conclusion in your case. To book a free consultation and assess your ability to claim damages in a Colorado court, call Warrior Truck Accident Lawyers in Denver at 719-300-1100.

Warrior Car Accident Lawyers

1902 W. Colorado Ave., Suite 100

Colorado Springs, CO 80904


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