Most media information related with the truck industry is negative, regular drivers relate a truck with potential accidents. Actualy the story is quite different. In 2000, the U.S government performed a study in which they found out that approximately 71% of the car/truck accidents were caused by cars. And, another study performed in 2002 showed that, in general, 80% of the accidents were caused by cars. This shows that the bad reputation held by truck drivers and its industry, its just that, a bad reputation.
Most truck drivers are professionals, who drive for a living and are considered specialists in the area by the law. The majority of truckers are dedicated to safety and are constantly looking out for other vehicles around them. Governmental regulations require high standards from truck drivers. They are periodically asked to give different kinds of tests to prove they have all the physical and emotional conditions to be behind the wheel. Moreover, in order to become a truck driver they must pass tests such as the CDL (Commercial Drivers License) test and the FMCSR (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations) test.. It is not an easy task to drive such enormous trucks and you must have the knowledge enough to take that responsibility.
The problem with accidents is that we, drivers of automobiles and regular cars, dont know quite well what to do when one of these big trucks approach us over the highway. This is the reason why there are certain facts that we should acquaint ourselves with in this situation. For example, big trucks cannot stop as quickly as our small, light cars can. When carrying twenty or more tons of freight, to suddenly stop a big rig is almost impossible. Therefore, it is imperative that you never cut off a truck in traffic. Doing so may represent a major tragedy. That is why it is important to always put some distance between your car and the truck, mostly when you pass it, and to always avoid panic braking.
Also, when going down a hill trucks find it very difficult to stop or to go really slow because of the heavy weight they are carrying. So, just try to remember to never get in front of a truck when going down a hill (mainly if you own a really slow car). Also, truck drivers will always try to speed up when going up a hill, so that they will maintain the speed as long as possible. Obviously, the hill and the gravity will drop them back, but they will always try to go faster so they dont loose speed.
Another very important tip to avoid accidents is to never ever try to pass a truck over its right side, or blind side ( Sui-side as it is known among truckers).There are several blond spots over there that, in spite of all the mirrors they have, still exist. Just try not to pass it on the right side, and if it is inevitable because you are on a three or more lane highway, dont linger over there for long. Be aware that the most dangerous area and biggest blind spot is right alongside the cab or passengers door. Remember, trucks are higher than our cars, we wont be shown on their mirrors!
As common drivers and users of highways, lets try to follow these small tips every day so we can avoid accidents and, in that way, help truck drivers and us to get to our lives safe and healthy!