A commercial motor vehicle is a vehicle “used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property.” It could weigh over 10,000 pounds, it could seat up to 15 people, and it could be used to transport a significant quantity of hazardous materials. Typically, commercial motor vehicles are large trucks or buses, but ultimately come in all shapes and sizes.
Commercial motor vehicles can be dangerous to others on the road because of how big they are. A commercial motor vehicle is generally much bigger than an ordinary passenger vehicle, which means that the angles and lines of vision for drivers of commercial motor vehicles are not the same as they are for drivers of ordinary passenger vehicles. Commercial motor vehicles have bigger blind spots, take longer to stop, and are difficult to maneuver.
Fortunately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, has given drivers of ordinary passenger vehicles a list of advice for driving around commercial motor vehicles.
How to Share the Road Safely With Commercial Vehicles
First, the FMCSA tells drivers to avoid “No Zones.” No zones are places where the driver of a commercial motor vehicle can’t see you – or blind spots. A good way to decide whether you are in a No Zone is to check whether you can see the driver in the commercial motor vehicles side window – if you cannot see the driver, then the driver cannot see you.
Make sure to pass commercial motor vehicles safely. To start, make sure that you are not in a blind spot. Then, signal and move to the left, and pass quickly. Do not pass on the right side of a commercial motor vehicle.
Maintain a safe distance between the front of your vehicle and the back of the commercial motor vehicle when you are driving behind a commercial motor vehicle. “Tailgating” is bad because you will be in a blind spot. It is possible for a commercial motor vehicle to roll backwards.
Expect that a commercial motor vehicle will make wide turns. Sometimes these vehicles swing wide when they turn, and sometimes they turn from the middle lane. Make sure not to try to pass a turning commercial motor vehicle by going between it and the curb.
Use your basic road safety tactics. Make sure to wear your seatbelt. Further, make sure that kids are buckled properly and that they are sitting in the back seat. Stay focused. Avoid distracted driving. Do not drive if you are tired. Don’t drive for too long without taking a break. If you are fatigued, you can have another driver step in or find a safe place to pull off the road to rest. Finally, never, ever drive under the influence. Of course, avoid using alcohol and drugs before or when driving. Be aware, though, that prescription and over-the-counter medications might impair your driving, as well. Do not drive if your medication label has a warning about dizziness, drowsiness, or other relevant side effects.
Contact an Experienced Maryland Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents often result in devastating injuries. To learn more about your legal rights and remedies as a victim, please contact the Baltimore County, MD offices of attorney Michael A. Freedman. We can set up a no-cost case evaluation to discuss your circumstances with a skilled truck accident lawyer.