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Important tips for safely sharing the road with trucks and buses

Motorists who are involved in crashes with large trucks and buses often suffer severe and even fatal injuries due to their sheer size and weight (and sometimes their contents, which can be toxic or flammable). Because the drivers of these vehicles often have less visibility and maneuverability than other motorists, they often aren't able to respond to unforeseen circumstances in time to avoid a crash.

That's why it's essential to be particularly cautious when you encounter trucks and buses on the road. Following are a few crucial things that motorists can do to minimize their chances of a crash:

Stay out of the driver's blind spots

Large vehicles have bigger blind spots than cars do. A good way to be sure that you aren't in one is to make certain you can see the driver in their side mirror. It's best not to drive right beside them. Stay either ahead or behind them.

If you pass, do so quickly and with extreme caution

Before you attempt to pass, make sure that you can see the driver in their side view mirror. It's best if you can be sure the driver sees you as well. Don't pass unless you know you've got room to get back in the lane quickly after you've passed. If you're on a downgrade, don't pass. Large vehicles often gain speed when they're going downhill.

Allow for wide turns

Large vehicles often need to swing wide when they turn from one street onto another -- taking up more than one lane. If you see a truck or bus preparing to turn, stay out of the way. Don't try to squeeze in next to it on the road.

Don't tailgate

That's crucial no matter what kind of vehicle is in front of you. However, if you're behind a truck or bus, it's imperative. Rear-ending a truck can have tragic consequences. If you're following too closely, you're also likely in one of the driver's blind spots. Even if you're stuck in traffic, a truck can sometimes roll back a bit -- especially on an uphill slope.

Of course, you can take all of these safety precautions and still be involved in a crash caused by a negligent, reckless, drowsy or impaired driver. If you are, know your options for holding the driver, their employer or others liable so that you can seek compensation for expenses and damages.

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