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Safety Tips for Driving Around Semi-Trucks in Colorado

May 9, 2024

Semi-trucks, big rigs and 18-wheelers are the most dangerous vehicles on the road. In a collision between a standard passenger car and a large truck, the truck will always win. It is essential as a motor vehicle driver to learn and practice basic safety tips for driving near semi-trucks in Colorado. Prioritizing safe driving near a semi could save your life.

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Beware of the No Zone

The “No Zone” of a semi-truck refers to the large blind spots surrounding all four sides of the vehicle. The height and length of a big rig limit the truck driver’s view of the surrounding road. This can lead to lane-change or sideswipe accidents due to blind spots.

As a general rule of thumb, if you cannot see the truck driver’s face in the truck’s side mirror, the truck driver can’t see you. Do your best to remain out of the No Zone by keeping a wide berth around a semi-truck. If you’re in a blind spot, slow down or speed up to stay visible.

Pass Quickly But Safely

It is dangerous to hover near a large truck for longer than is necessary. The longer you remain near a big rig, the higher the odds are of entering the truck driver’s blind spot. Pass a commercial truck quickly and safely by taking the following steps:

  • Signal your intent to pass by activating your turn signal.
  • Move into the travel lane to your left when the lane is clear and it is safe for you to do so.
  • Accelerate smoothly to pass the truck – avoid lingering in the truck’s blind spot.
  • Make sure the truck is visible in your rearview mirror before pulling back in front of the truck.

Never pass from the right lane, pass on a downgrade where the truck could pick up speed or pass in a way that cuts a truck driver off. Large trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and take longer to stop than regular cars. Give the truck ample space when passing, merging or changing lanes to avoid a serious rear-end collision or override accident.

Keep a Safe Following Distance

Maintaining a safe distance from large commercial trucks is one of the best ways to protect yourself from a truck accident. When following behind a tractor-trailer, increase the amount of space between the front of your car and the back of the truck. This will give you more time to brake if the truck slows down or stops in front of you.

Keeping a safe following distance can also help you react in time to hazards such as a truck tire blowout, lost cargo load, truck jackknife incident or a wide turn. Rear-ending a large truck can be deadly, as your car may slide beneath the trailer. This could shear off the top of the car and cause catastrophic or fatal injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and decapitation.

Stay Alert and Vigilant

Never drive while distracted around a large truck. Keep both eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and your mind on the driving task at all times. Put your cell phone away to avoid distractions caused by texting or phone calls.

Driver distraction can lead to dangerous mistakes, such as tailgating an 18-wheeler or making an unsafe lane change. It only takes a moment for your life to change forever. Focus on the road to keep yourself and others safe.

If you get involved in a semi-truck accident in Denver despite your best efforts to stay safe, help is available at The Fang Law Firm. Our truck accident lawyers in Denver will review your case and help you understand your legal options during a free consultation.