When driving in or around Pittsburgh, there's no avoiding commercial trucks. It doesn't matter if you're sitting in traffic on the parkway or zipping down I-79 on your way to Cranberry or Washington, there will always be large trucks in close proximity to your vehicle since they are the lifeblood, in many ways, to the success of the American economy.
If you know how to share the road with big rigs, you'll find it much easier to drive safely and in a confident manner. Here are a few things you should always do:
- Don't take a risk: It's never fun to drive behind a commercial truck, especially if you're in a hurry. While it's okay to move into the other lane to pass the truck, don't take a risk that puts you in harm's way. An example of this would be attempting to pass a truck (or any other vehicle, for that matter) in the right lane.
- Pass with caution: You're permitted to pass other vehicles on the highway, but you must do so in a legal manner. This means using the left lane, maintaining a safe speed, using your turn signals and leaving enough space when moving back in front of the truck.
- Watch for turns on tight roads: Commercial trucks don't spend all their time on the highway. There are times when these vehicles exit the interstate and move onto city or rural roadways. Watch for turning trucks, as they often need additional room to make the necessary maneuver. If a trucker doesn't see you, it's possible they could strike your vehicle when turning.
- Drive defensively, not aggressively: Your safety is more important than anything, so defensive driving should always be on your mind. Even if a trucker is being overly aggressive, it doesn't mean you have to match this behavior. Instead, create space between your vehicles and focus on the task at hand.
When you take these steps, you'll find it easier to safely share the road with commercial trucks.
If you do these things and still find yourself involved in a car-truck accident, do the following:
- Move to the shoulder of the road
- Call 911
- Treat yourself for injuries
- Accept transportation to a local hospital
- Follow doctors' orders
Once you take these steps, you can then file an insurance claim, read the police report and decide if you're able to take legal action against the negligent trucker.