Motorists should give big rigs plenty of road space

"Wide open spaces" is a term that usually refers to the American West. In New York, however, it might aptly apply to rules of the road. Motorists should remember to leave plenty of space between them and big rigs when it comes to sharing the state's highways.

For motorists who drive next to big rigs, space can mean the difference between life and death. Semi-trucks require more room to brake, turn and pass. If they don't get the necessary room, a truck accident could occur. For example, it takes a truck twice as long to stop as a car. Therefore, savvy drivers should never stop suddenly if they're in front of a truck. If a truck has to stop suddenly, it could plow into the vehicle in front, ending up on top of the car. Nearly 70 percent of fatalities in car-truck accidents are to occupants of the car.

Wise motorists should also avoid following trucks too closely. Trucks have several "no-see" zones where they cannot see vehicles immediately behind them. A good rule of thumb is: if the motorist can't see the truck driver's face in the side mirror, the trucker can't see the motorist.

It is a simple law of physics that if a 40-ton truck and a 2-ton car collide, the car and its occupants will suffer the worst damage. A New Yorker who has been injured in a truck accident may be eligible for compensation if it is determined that the truck driver was negligent. This compensation could include medical expenses and lost wages. A personal injury attorney can help a victim obtain a fair settlement.

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