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Driving Near Big Rigs: 4 Need to Know Safety Tips

18 wheelers and other big rigs populate the Bay Area’s roads. There is really nothing you can do about that. These monstrous vehicles have the capacity to do incredible harm.

It’s not that the drivers are untrained or unskilled. To the contrary, most big rig truckers get training and feedback and other rigorous testing. Rather, it’s the sheer size and “clunkiness” of big rigs that make them such lethal weapons.

It All Comes Down to Basic Physics

The more massive an object is, the more force it can impart. Force is defined as mass times acceleration (F=MA). As the “M” part of that equation increases, the “F” part also increases. Here is an example: A 40-ton truck that goes from 60 miles per hour to 0 miles per hour in 5 seconds will impart as much force as a 2-ton auto going from 1,200 miles to zero miles in 5 seconds.

That’s as much force as a 200-pound man could impart if he went from 12,000 miles to 0 miles per hour in just 5 seconds. That’s like a man going as fast as a rocket ship being stopped in 5 seconds flat. A lot of force, in other words!

So what do you about that? Here are some ideas:

1. Avoid being aggressive

Big commercial rigs should be treated with great care. Do not zip around them or cut them off. If you are in the driver’s blind spot, get passed them as quickly as possible. If you can’t see the driver’s mirror, he (or she) can’t see you.

2. Stay out of the big rigger’s “safety cushion” 

Big trucks need a lot of room to stop: 50 feet or more, depending on traffic conditions. So, avoid zipping in front of a truck; you could be in for a very unpleasant rear-ending.

3. Be Alert!

The most important thing when driving around big rigs or driving in general is to be alert. Do not drive while over exhausted, keep your eyes on the road, don’t text (it is the law), and be aware of the cars around you, especially the big rigs. Big rigs have large “blind spots” so they may not see you.

4. Make sure that your car is functioning at its highest capacity.

If you need help recovering from a Bay Area big rig crash or any other accident that might have caused frame, body, or paint damage to your vehicle, connect with the team at Shattuck Auto Collision Center. We offer major and minor collision repair, precision unibody and framework, rental cars and towing, hybrid auto body repair, and many other services to help you deal with whatever comes your way on Bay Area roads. Call us at 510-848-6281, or learn more about us www.shattuckauto.com.

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