Georgia traffic safety: Sharing the road with heavy trucks

Not all collisions in Georgia involving large commercial vehicles may be prevented, but there are things drivers can do to help improve their safety.

Each day, drivers across the state of Georgia and the rest of the U.S. share the streets, roads and highways with heavy commercial vehicles. Unfortunately, however, collisions involving these large trucks and passenger vehicles are all too common, and often cause serious injuries or death. In fact, there was a 62 percent increase in the number of trucking accidents resulting in injuries between 2009 and 2015, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. While motorists may not be able to prevent all such wrecks, there are some steps they may take to help keep themselves safe when they are sharing the road with tractor-trailers.

Be patient when passing heavy vehicles

Most people can plainly see the size difference between semitrailers and the other vehicles that are on the roads. However, they may not take into account how this size factors into passing these vehicles. Since it may require more distance to safely pass large trucks, motorists are advised to be patient when making such maneuvers. They should make certain they have ample clear road in front of them before starting to pass, and ensure they have plenty of space between them and tractor-trailers before moving back into the lane.

Give large trucks a wide berth

Due to their size, the rear wheels of heavy vehicles may run off track from the front when they are making turns. Consequently, the trailer may swing out across other lanes of traffic, the shoulder, bike lanes or sidewalks. It is important that drivers be aware of this possibility when they are sharing the road with these vehicles. They should refrain from trying to squeeze past a turning truck as this may result in a serious trucking collision.

Avoid tailgating tractor-trailers

With less distance between their vehicles and those in front of them, tailgating is always a potentially dangerous behavior for motorists. Though, it may be particularly hazardous to follow too closely behind semitrailers. Due to the size differences between these large vehicles and other cars, trucks and SUVs, the smaller vehicles may easily slide under heavy trucks if they are struck from behind or are otherwise unable to stop in time to avoid colliding. Thus, drivers should use care to stay well back from tractor-trailers when they are sharing the road.

Working with a lawyer

When people in Georgia and elsewhere are involved in trucking accidents, the effects may be devastating for them and their families. Due to the potentially serious injuries they may suffer, they may require extensive medical treatment and be forced to take significant time off work to recover. For some, this may lead to undue medical expenses and lost wages, among other damages. Thus, those who have experienced such circumstances may find it helpful to discuss their rights and options with a legal representative.