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Staying safe when sharing the road with commercial trucks

Commercial trucks provide transportation for a wide range of industries. In some regards, they help keep the consumer economy moving along. Commercial vehicles like semitrucks or eighteen-wheelers transport all kinds of raw materials, produce, ready-to-buy items and even milk. Drivers can encounter these vehicles on just about any road.

On country roads and city streets, you always have the option of taking a detour if traffic conditions push you too close to a commercial vehicle. When you're in heavy traffic on the freeway, you may not have an option to change your route. Instead, you may have to drive in close proximity to a commercial truck at high speeds for many miles.

Accidents with commercial trucks can result in serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries or broken bones. While a personal injury lawsuit may be an option to recover your losses when the other driver is at fault, your best option is - obviously -- to avoid a crash. There are certain steps you can take to reduce your risk of a collision with a large commercial truck.

Avoid blinds spots

Some large trucks actually have stickers or signs on their trailers that show the blind spots of these massive vehicles. Because of the size and length of the trailers they haul, commercial trucks have large areas along both sides of their trailers, as well as directly behind the trailer, that they cannot see. You should always give a semitruck at least 30 feet of space. Similarly, you should try to stay at least 20 feet ahead of a commercial truck if you are driving or merging in front of one.

Not only does driving in a blind spot leave you in incredibly close proximity with the trucks, the driver won't be able to see you if he or she needs to turn or change lanes. Even in very heavy traffic, you should try to avoid driving directly next to, in front of or behind a commercial truck if you can.

Watch out for wide turns

Because of the way that the truck connects to the trailer with its load, trucks make wide turns. In some cases, they may even need to take up two lanes of traffic to complete a turn at an intersection. When approaching an intersection with a stopped semitruck or when driving close to a commercial truck, pay close attention to the truck's signals. Once you know if it is turning or going straight, you can ensure you aren't in the way of the turn.

It's also important to note when stopping at an intersection that the thick white line's location is based on the space needed for commercial trucks to turn. If you cross that line, you may prevent a truck from turning or end up with damage to your vehicle as a result.

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