Highway driving, commercial vehicles and avoiding trouble

When you drive on the highways throughout the state of California, you're always in close proximity to commercial trucks. Regardless of the time of day or road you're traveling on, there's no way of avoiding these large vehicles as they transport goods and keep our system of commerce functioning robustly.

The best thing you can do is learn how to share the road with commercial trucks. By doing this, you lessen the likelihood of being part of an accident. However, there is no way to guarantee your safety, as you never know if another driver will make a mistake.

Here are some of the top causes of car-truck accidents:

  • Drowsy driving: If a trucker is too tired to drive, they could fall asleep at the wheel and/or have impaired judgment.
  • Drunk driving: Truckers should never drink alcohol and drive, but it's a mistake that is made time after time.
  • Reckless driving: There are many forms of reckless driving, such as failure to use a turn signal, excessive speeding and illegal passing.
  • Unrealistic schedule: Trucking companies that place unrealistic demands on drivers are making a big mistake. This can cause a person to drive too fast and/or not take enough breaks.
  • Lack of training: Driving a commercial truck is a difficult job. Proper training regarding defensive driving, safety and technique is a must.

You can't control any of these things, but there are steps you can take as a driver to protect yourself:

  • Make yourself visible to truckers by avoiding their "no-zone"
  • Don't drive between two large trucks for an extended period of time
  • Never pass a truck in the right lane
  • Use turn signals and leave enough space when changing lanes
  • Be careful when merging into traffic
  • Don't abandon your vehicle too close to moving traffic

Car-truck accidents are extremely dangerous, as the person or people in the smaller vehicles are at greater risk of injury or death.

If you're part of this type of accident, you must receive immediate medical care. In addition to checking yourself for injuries and administering first-aid, call 911. Once an ambulance arrives, you can rely on emergency medical personnel to provide care.

As you recover, contact your insurance company to file a claim and discuss your legal rights. You may be able to take steps to hold the negligent trucker responsible for causing the accident.

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