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Many drivers find it intimidating to drive in proximity to commercial trucks. While large trucks can certainly present some specific risks, you can decrease the chances of getting into a crash by taking some simple steps.

Unfortunately, you only control your own driving behavior; your safe practices will not stop a truck driver from acting negligently and causing a crash. If you do end up sustaining injuries in a truck accident, speaking with a lawyer can tell you more about your options for legal recourse.

Contributory fault

You should also be aware that not following these safety tips, and even behaving in a negligent manner yourself, does not mean you cannot recover. Under Washington state’s contributory negligence rule, you can still recover a damages award which will see a reduction proportionate to your contribution to causing the accident.

Keep your distance

The top rule for sharing the road with big rigs is to keep a safe distance at all times, whether you are driving in front of or behind the truck. This distance is longer than that necessary around passenger vehicles, as trucks take noticeably longer to stop or change direction due to their mass. In addition, when you drive too close to the front or back of a truck, the vehicle’s height can prevent the driver from seeing you.

Avoid blind zones

Sometimes, you have to pass a truck, which can land you in its blind spots. To minimize the risks involved, be sure to always signal clearly before beginning to pass. Then, try to come out of the blind zone as quickly as you safely can. Generally, if you look at the truck’s side mirror and cannot see its driver, the driver cannot see you.

Pay attention

Staying alert is the best thing you can do to keep yourself safe. In spite of their experience, truck drivers make mistakes, too, due to factors such as fatigue, distraction, substance abuse and even just plain carelessness. Concerning driving behaviors can include abrupt stops and starts, speeding, and drifting.