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Tractor-trailers and semi-trucks can be destructive presences on New Jersey highways and roads. While accidents involving these large trucks are often attributable solely to negligence on behalf of the truck driver, there are certain steps that a passenger vehicle driver can take to help prevent accidents and stay safe on the road. 

Safe Distance

Always keep the size and weight of large trucks in mind when passing them. Tractor-trailers are generally permitted to weigh up to 80,000 lbs., while cars weigh an average of 5,000 lbs. Because of this immense weight, a big rig requires up to 40% longer to reach a stop than does a car. If you cut-off an 18-wheeler at too close of a distance, you could send the truck swerving into another lane of traffic, or into the rear of your vehicle. Causing a semi-truck hauling a long trailer to come to an abrupt stop could also cause the trailer to jackknife. In order to pass the truck at a safe distance, check to see that the front of the truck is fully visible in your rear-view mirror before making the lane change.

Blind Spots

Tractor-trailers have very large blind spots, which are invisible to drivers no matter how much they turn their heads. It's for this reason that these blind spots are known as "no-zones." If you remain in a truck's no-zone for too long, you run the risk that the truck will unwittingly change lanes into you. Try to avoid lingering along the sides of the truck or directly behind a truck. Make sure that you can see the truck's side-view mirrors, to help ensure that the driver can see you.


A large truck requires a wide radius to make a complete turn, especially on narrow city streets. If a truck appears to be making a turn, allow the truck a wide berth in doing so, and never fill the space between a truck and the sidewalk toward where the truck is turning. Doing so makes you vulnerable to be squeezed by the truck onto the sidewalk, possibly also crushing your car in the process.

If you have been hurt in an accident with a tractor-trailer or semi-truck in northern New Jersey, consult the experienced Morristown truck accident lawyers at Smith & Doran for a consultation, at 973-292-0016.

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Smith & Gaynor, LLC
60 Washington Street, Suite 302
Morristown, NJ 07960

Phone: 973-532-2661
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