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How to share the road safely with semitrucks

The holiday season is thick upon us -- and that means there are a lot of semitrucks making deliveries on the road. Online shopping is huge, and many people have abandoned the big box stores in favor of ordering the gifts they intend to give online. If you plan to travel this Christmas, you need to know how to share the road with these big rigs -- because they're likely to be everywhere.

Here are some of the most important things to know about driving on the road around semitrucks:

1. Maintain your distance

The No. 1 thing that protects you from an accident with a semi is space. The closer you are to a semitruck on the road, the more you risk getting caught in that driver's blind spot during a merge or some other incident. Keep in mind that you can't really see what's ahead of a truck on the road, so give yourself extra space in case the truck makes a sudden stop.

2. Pass quickly and carefully

With so many big trucks on the road, you're probably going to need to pass at least a few. When you do it, make certain that you have a clear stretch of road ahead so that you can pass through the driver's blind spots quickly. Once you pull ahead of the truck, avoid merging in front until you're able to see the entire truck cab in your rearview mirror.

3. Use your signals and dim your lights

Make sure that you signal your moves in advance when you're around a semitruck. Give the truck driver plenty of warning that you're about to change lanes or turn. Also, make sure that you keep your high beams off in the dark to avoid accidentally blinding the trucker while the vehicle is in motion.

People in the trucking industry will be quick to tell you that 75% of accidents involving a semitruck are due to a passenger car driver's error. However, that still means that one out of every four accidents is caused by the semitruck driver or some other issue. While defensive driving is essential for safety around big rigs, don't assume that a trucking accident is your fault. Let an experienced attorney look at your case.

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