In a traffic accident, the motorcycle’s small size compared to four-wheeled vehicles places it at a disadvantage. This is one reason motorcycle fatalities are so high. However, this disadvantage is magnified twenty-fold between motorcycles and semi-trucks.
In some types of accidents, the truck can induce a motorcycle accident without ever making contact with the bike. These “action at a distance” accidents are sometimes the fault of the truck driver or caused by poor judgment on the motorcyclist’s part. Safely sharing the road with semi-trucks demands that they not be treated like ordinary motor vehicles. Here are five truck-specific safety tips for motorcyclists:
Stay out of a Truck’s No-Zones
The semi-truck has four no-zones (blind spots): one in front, one behind, and one on either side of the truck. Staying clear of the truck’s rear no-zone amounts to maintaining a safe following distance. A rule of thumb for identifying a no-zone is: if you can’t see the truck driver’s face in one of his mirrors, you’re in a no-zone.
When passing a truck, do it as quickly as possible to minimize your time in its side no-zone. Never pull in front of a truck unless you see the driver’s windshield from your mirrors. If a truck suddenly moves into your lane, you may find yourself without an escape route.
Never Linger Beside a Semi-Truck
This applies even when you aren’t in a no-zone. The trailers of semi-trucks sometimes have tire blowouts that can shoot large chunks of rubber toward you. If you’ve ever noticed tire debris along the side of the road, they are caused by either tread separation or by blowouts. Lingering alongside a semi-truck invites getting knocked down by a flying chunk of tire.
Avoid Passing Next to Semi-Trucks in Heavy Rain
When riding beside a truck, your visibility drops to zero inside the water spray kicked up by the truck’s tires. The truck driver and traffic in the other lane next to you can’t see you either. Do your passing several lanes over from the truck.
Don’t Tailgate a Truck
Although you want plenty of time to react when a truck brakes, the main concern is that the truck’s size prevents you from seeing potholes or large debris that it may pass over. Tailgating allows insufficient reaction time.
Beware of Turbulence
While experienced riders find truck turbulence manageable, it can get severe enough to cause an accident on days with strong crosswinds. Strong crosswinds may also cause the truck to make sudden steering corrections. When passing a truck, use the third of the passing lane that’s furthest away.
If you were injured in a truck accident in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C., the Law Offices of John Critzos, II can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 844-Take-MyCase or visit our website at www.844TakeMyCase.com.
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