From your child’s new bicycle to the corn on the cob you may be enjoying for dinner tonight, chances are it was delivered to the store by a truck. There is no denying it — truck drivers are a necessary and incredibly important facet of modern life. From coast to coast, truck drivers travel for hours on end, ensuring that the world stays fully stocked. Truck driving laws ensure that these long hours never come at the cost of safety for the truck driver or the general public.
What truck driving laws do these professionals have to follow while on-the-job? We examine not only the laws that they must follow, but also tips to keep you safe while sharing the road with these giants of the road.
What Truck Driving Laws Keep Drivers Safe?
The most substantial of laws related to truck driving regards drivers keeping accurate logs of their driving time. If you have ever been part of a road trip, you know all too well how monotonous, tiring and sometimes stressful driving for hours on end can be. Now, imagine making that trip in a vehicle as large, heavy and difficult to maneuver as a big rig. It is easy to imagine why driving past the mandated hours in order to get a delivery in on time could be a deadly temptation for many drivers.
But how can regulators and authorities know that truck drivers are following these mandates put in place to ensure that they are taking adequate breaks from driving and getting enough sleep? In the past, is was not so easy. Some drivers, hoping to get more deliveries done in less time, would either doctor their books or simply carry a false book along with their true logged hours. Though it is easy to empathize with this temptation (time is money, after all), doing so made the roads more dangerous for everyone on them.
It was only earlier this year that logged driving hours went digital. Now, gone are the pen and pad, replaced with automated technology that tracks everything from mileage to hours with the engine on. Though you may assume that this technical improvement was a major win for both truck drivers and the general public, some drivers had a few apprehensions. Some feared that this tech could actually backfire, allowing companies to pressure drivers to drive until they absolutely have to stop, as opposed to taking a break when they personally feel the need to. All in all, however, most believe this tech will lead to more drivers getting the rest that they both need and deserve when hauling freight across the nation.
Besides staying within their regulated driving hours, truck driving laws may sound just a bit familiar — and for good reason. Truck drivers must follow the same rules of the road as any other motorist. Texting and driving, drinking and driving and driving recklessly are all prohibited.
How Do I Drive Safely Around Trucks?
- Where are a truck’s blind spots?: There are multiple spots around the truck that make your car virtually invisible to the truck driver. These include directly behind, as well as too close to either side of the semi. If you are trying to pass, always do so safely and quickly on the left side of the truck. Also, be sure to stay as far from the truck as possible in order to increase the visibility of your vehicle.
- Can bad weather affect a truck’s mobility?: Though semi trucks may be a large and intimidating presence on the road, they can be jostled around by the combination of heavy winds and wet roads, due to the not-so-aerodynamic freight they often carry. Visibility can be reduced even further in such conditions Be extra cautious in poor weather.
- How far should I stay away from trucks?: Always give a semi truck more room that you would other vehicles on the road. Realize that even the best of truck drivers cannot stop a truck as big and heavy as most semis on a dime. Never linger in a truck’s blind spot and never cut off a semi truck. Doing so could cause a major accident.
- Why do trucks have to warn about wide turns?: Again, trucks often warn about wide turns due to the fact that the driver will often have limited visibility when making turns, especially right turns. Always remember to anticipate a truck and its trailer’s movement when making any turns nearby.
Though there was once a stigma on the profession of truck driving, it is easy to now see these hard workers as professionals with an incredibly important job. This job also comes with major responsibilities, many of which involve keeping you and your family safe by following truck driving laws while sharing the road. Realize that, as a responsible driver, you can also make truck drivers’ jobs much safer by following the rules of the road, as well as the handful of easily enacted safety tips above.
It is everyone’s job to drive as safely as possible whenever on the road. However, accidents do happen, despite our best efforts and intentions. If you or a loved one are involved in an accident with a semi truck or other commercial vehicle, do not hesitate to call our truck accident professionals today at (407) 841-7699. Stay safe and always drive with care.