Most of us share the road with tractor-trailers every day. It’s just a part of Nashville life. Whether we’re traveling on the highway for our commute to work, running errands, or simply getting from one place to another, we’ve encountered trucks at one point or another.
For the most part, we know how to share the road with these behemoth vehicles, even though it can be a bit nerve-wracking at times. Those nerves can get worse during winter months, when weather can get unpredictable, with rain, ice, and snow.
However, you don’t need to let driving alongside 18-wheelers become too intimidating. More confident drivers are better drivers, so we’ve put together some tips to help you share the road this winter – and avoid truck accidents.
What is a safe following distance?
In normal conditions, you should stay about three or four seconds behind another vehicle (start counting when the vehicle in front of you passes a landmark, then count how long it takes for you to pass it, then adjust your speed). This gives you time to react if the driver stops suddenly. In winter weather, however, increase that to eight or even 10 seconds – especially behind a tractor-trailer.
If a car tailgates a commercial truck in slippery weather and the truck stops quickly, an underride accident can occur. These accidents can result in catastrophic or fatal injuries. Additionally, driving too close behind a truck in inclement weather can obstruct your vision by spraying rain, slush, or snow onto your windshield. Increasing the space between both vehicles improves your field of vision.
Use caution when passing
We already know it’s risky to pass a truck because of its many blind spots. The rule of thumb is to get past a semi quickly and ensure there’s enough room in front of the truck to return to the lane if necessary.
Although it can be tempting to speed up to pass a truck, during the winter this can be extremely dangerous with snow and ice on the roadway. Remember, driving carefully and slowly isn’t just driving under the speed limit – it’s also taking care to accelerate and decelerate slowly so you don’t lose traction and skid out. Before passing a truck in winter weather, make sure you have enough time to do it properly and safely.
Be careful on snowy hills and inclines
You’ve probably had your own struggle once or twice trying to climb a hill in your personal vehicle due to lack of traction. This is even more difficult for a tractor-trailer. As a small vehicle driver on a hill, you don’t want to be behind a truck that’s going up, and you don’t want to be in front of a truck that’s going down. If the truck driver loses control, the truck will slide right into you.
If you can’t move into another lane of traffic on a hill, increase the distance between you and the truck as much as you can – safely, of course.
We want you and your family to be safe on the roads this winter. Truck drivers have a responsibility to drive safely, no matter what the weather, and should be properly trained to do so.
If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, the Nashville attorneys at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm can help. We’ll answer all of your questions and work to secure you the compensation you deserve. Call our lawyers today at 615-425-2500 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, and Clarksville.