When looking to merge on a multi-lane road, the first thing you look for is a gap. You need space to get in, and you try to adjust your vehicle to the flow of traffic, signal, and then move into the gap. Seems easy, right?
Unfortunately, when driving around big rigs and semitrucks, it’s not that simple. Drivers often make mistakes due to their experience driving around other small passenger vehicles. This can lead to accidents.
Trucking experts note that you should not move into the gap in front of a semi, even if it’s 300 feet wide and looks like an ideal space. Trucks have massive stopping distances, compared to small cars. The driver has left such a big gap so that they can stop safely in an emergency. If you drive into it, they no longer have room to stop, and you put yourself in serious danger.
Stopping distances depend on things like:
- Road conditions
- Brake conditions
- Road grade
- Truck weight
- Truck speed
If the truck driver knows that they need extra space, it’s wise to respect that. They know what variables impact their stopping distance, such as the cargo they’re carrying and the way it was loaded.
That said, it is up to truck drivers to maintain safe following distances at all times. If a driver does not do that — maybe they’re in a hurry, rushing and driving too close to your car — they could cause an accident that otherwise would have been avoided. If you suffer injuries in that accident, be sure you know how to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. It can be difficult to fight a big trucking company on your own, so think about asking for experienced assistance.