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How can I avoid a truck accident?

Commercial truck drivers need to be careful not to hit the smaller, lighter and more nimble vehicles that surround them on Washington's highways. The drivers of small vehicles also need to take precautions, which can prevent an injurious or fatal crash.

Here are some of the most basic things that all drivers should do to stay safe around big rigs:

-- Respect the fact that big trucks react slowly: Don't cut off a truck and slow down quickly. When merging onto the highway, give trucks plenty of room. Also, if you do need to apply the brakes, try to do so slowly so that trucks can react.

-- Don't pass a truck on its right side: This is where the largest blind spot of a semitruck is found, on the right-hand side.

-- Give trucks lots of room when they're turning: Trucks turn and maneuver slowly and they need a lot of room to make their wide turns. Respecting the wide turning radius of all trucks will help you avoid an accident.

-- Make it easy for 18-wheelers to pass: Don't get competitive with a big rig. If it wants to pass you, slow down, speed up or do whatever is necessary to get out of the way and make the passing process easier. The same rule applies to a truck that wants to change lanes.

-- Never tailgate a big truck: You should never tailgate anyone, but especially not a big rig. If you're tailgating a big truck, the driver might not see you, and you could end up smashing your car under the truck's bumper in the event of a rear-end collision.

Sometimes, no matter how safe a driver is around an 18-wheeler, a semitruck accident still happens. If it's the semitruck operator's fault, then the injured vehicle driver could have a valid claim for financial damages against both the semitruck driver and his or her employer.

Source: topspeedracer.com, "Avoiding Truck Accidents," accessed June 02, 2017

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