A driver of a semi trailer tractor is a professional who has undergone quite a bit of training and testing in order to get their commercial driver’s license (CDL) and they are considered to be the best drivers on the road. However, the size of semitrailers alone make them hard to handle and even harder to control once something goes wrong, so you should definitely not just assume everything is OK and throw caution to the wind when driving next to one and ignore what could be a potential problem.
You can substantially reduce your chance of being involved in an accident with a truck trailer tractor by driving responsibly and understanding their limitations and being aware of what can go wrong. No matter how much you trust their driving ability and even if you legally have the right of way, keep in mind that equipment failure is out of the driver’s hands and the only law it is aware of is physics.
A few of the parts that may fail on a tractor semi trailer are the brakes, tires, axles and even the truck trailer hitch that may result in an accident, and you may be hurt or killed if you are next to it when it happens. Unfortunately, not all companies comply with the law that states all semitrailers must undergo regular inspections to ensure that their parts and equipment are in tip-top working order.
One problem that a tractor semi trailer may encounter is jackknifing, which is essentially when a truck folds as the trailer tries to pass the cab. Many things may cause this including slippery roads, sudden braking, an impact to the truck and malfunctioning brakes. Normally, when malfunctioning brakes are the cause, it is because of a combination of the front brakes locking up and the rear brakes failing that causes the cab to stop as the trailer stays in motion.
Blind spots are another problem and you have very likely seen the sign on the back of the semitrailers that reads “If you cannot see my mirrors then I cannot see you.” This warning is there for a reason. All vehicles have blind spots and the commercial truck trailer is no exception. The experienced truck driver can usually anticipate a car going into their blind spot and correct the problem to avoid a collision; however, you never know if that driver will know exactly what to do so you need to stay clear of a big rig’s blind spots.
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