fatal crashes involving a car and a truck, the car occupants
are far more likely to be killed. Driving mistakes around
trucks can have tragic consequences.
recent survey sponsored by the American Automobile Association (AAA)
examined crashes involving passenger vehicles (including cars, pickups,
minivans and SUVs) and trucks. That organization estimates some
5,000 deaths and 140,000 injuries in the US can be attributed to
dangerous driving near commercial trucks and tractor-trailers.
collisions, the sheer size of some trucks puts car occupants at
a disadvantage. Many drivers are intimidated when they must share
the road with large trucks, and not without reason. According to
AAA, people in passenger vehicles account for 98% of the deaths
in fatal two-vehicle crashes involving a car and a truck over 10,000
pounds. However, the survey found that in most cases, police, survivors
or witnesses identified at least one unsafe act by the car driver.
manoeuvre by a car near a large truck may be more dangerous than
the same manoeuvre near another car. Similarly, a large truck may
perform a manoeuvre that carries low risk of a crash near another
truck in the traffic stream, but a higher risk when performed near
a smaller vehicle.
study, by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute,
found that drivers who get involved in fatal crashes probably drive
the same way around trucks as they do around other cars. It identified
five driving behaviors that were factors in most of the fatal crashes:
to stay in the lane or running off the road;
to yield the right of way;
too fast for conditions or above the speed limit;
to obey signs and signals; and
study reinforces the message that a few basic defensive driving
habits could save a lot of lives:
change lanes abruptly.
down to let trucks have the right of way.
at a safe speed.
alert to traffic signals and road conditions.
cut in front of a truck.
driving alongside trucks whenever possible - if you can't see
the truck driver's face in the side mirror, he or she can't see