Because of their size, semi-trucks have a number of operating restrictions that passenger vehicles do not have. Also because of their large size, semi-trucks can cause significant damage, serious injuries and even death when they are involved in crashes with passenger vehicles.

Crashes involving semi-trucks have a variety of causes. Sometimes truckers cause accidents when they neglect to follow safety requirements, overload their vehicles, drive when drowsy or speed. However, sometimes crashes are caused by the actions of other drivers who do not understand the operating limitations of semi-trucks.

Do you know what operating limitations semi-trucks have?

To help avoid getting into a crash with a semi-truck, it can be helpful to refresh yourself on the limitations these large vehicles have. For example, large blind spots limit truckers’ view on all four sides. These blind spots extend 20 feet in front of the truck and 30 feet behind it. Blind spots also extend one lane over on most of the driver’s side of the truck and two lanes over on the passenger side.

Another example of a limitation is the long stopping distance semi-trucks require. Trucks traveling at 65 miles per hour need up to two football fields of space to stop. They can require even more space if they are on a declining slope.

Also, semi-trucks require additional space when completing turns. Drivers must swing wide or start from a middle lane to safely complete the turn.

Everyone can practice safe driving habits

With these limitations in mind, you can avoid actions that may contribute to a crash. Avoid driving in the blind spots by slowing down or speeding up slightly to allow more space between you and the truck. Never cut off or tailgate a semi-truck, and avoid passing a semi-truck on a downgrade when the vehicle may pick up speed quickly. Also, never try to squeeze between a turning truck and the curb. In general, allow truckers plenty of space to operate their vehicles safely, and be patient when driving next to them.

When people are injured in crashes involving semi-trucks, it is important for investigations to begin right away to preserve evidence and determine the cause of the crash. Those who are injured in crashes caused by negligent truck drivers are often able to receive compensation to help cover medical expenses and other expenses related to their injuries.