Auto accidents can be traumatic experiences for everyone involved. When one of the vehicles involved is an 18-wheeler, however, the consequences can be even more devastating. Adopting a few simple rules of the road can help drivers of passenger vehicles and semi-trailer trucks to avoid these accidents and the consequent property damage, injuries and fatalities they can cause. Here are seven tips for sharing the road with other vehicles and for staying safe on the road. Look Ahead Scanning the road ahead and remaining alert to potential hazards is a key element in safety for drivers of passenger vehicles and 18-wheelers alike. Spotting trouble in the distance can allow valuable time for braking and changing lanes to avoid accidents and ensure the smooth flow of traffic on the highway. In urban areas, maintaining awareness of the road ahead can help drivers identify potential hazards before they become imminent dangers. Be Courteous A little common courtesy can go a long way toward ensuring the safety of everyone on the road. Using turn signals before switching lanes allows other drivers on the road to slow down and make room for larger trucks. Creating a gap for trucks to allow easier lane changes can reduce the risk of accidents and ensure a safer driving environment for everyone on the road. Stay Calm Nearly everyone has been the victim of discourteous or dangerous drivers on the road. Unsafe practices like tail-gating, driving too slowly in the fast lane and cutting off other drivers can naturally inspire anger on the part of other drivers. Remaining calm and taking these incidents in stride can help the drivers of passenger cars and 18-wheelers stay safer behind the wheel. Consider Weight Issues Passenger vehicles can generally stop much more quickly than loaded or unloaded 18-wheel trucks. The weight and bulk of these vehicles makes them much more vulnerable to sudden stops. Leaving a safe distance before moving into the lane in front of these semi-trailer trucks can ensure the truck driver’s ability to stop if necessary and can prevent many accidents on the highway. Maintain the Proper Speed for Conditions The posted speed limits are generally applicable during ideal driving conditions. Rain, snow or dense fog can reduce visibility and decrease the ability of vehicles to brake quickly and safely. This is especially true for drivers of 18-wheel trucks; the added weight of these vehicles can present serious challenges in slick or low-visibility driving situations. Reducing speed and moving to the middle or right lane of traffic on the highway can help drivers to stay safe in inclement weather conditions. Pass on the Left, Not the Right Passing semi-trucks on the right is one of the most common causes of accidents involving these large vehicles. In urban driving situations, most 18-wheelers must make right-hand turns from the middle or left lane of traffic to avoid hitting the curb or encroaching on the sidewalk. Make allowances for large trucks and take care never to pass them on the right hand side in these urban environments. Mind the Blind Spot Passenger vehicles typically have relatively small blind spots on each side. For 18-wheelers and tractor-trailer trucks, these blind spots are exponentially larger and can create extended danger zones on both sides of the vehicle. As a general rule, truck drivers cannot see a vehicle that cannot clearly see the driver in the rearview mirrors of the truck. Avoid driving for extended periods on the right side of an 18-wheeler. Even with these precautions, accidents can still occur and cause catastrophic injuries to drivers of passenger vehicles. A qualified tractor trailer accident attorney can provide help for victims in obtaining the compensation they need to manage medical costs and damages to vehicles due to the actions of truck drivers on the road. An experienced 18 wheeler accident attorney can provide help in negotiating with insurance companies and can represent victims effectively in the courtroom setting. By engaging the services of a professional truck accident lawyer, accident victims can ensure that they receive the maximum settlement amounts and real compensation for their injuries and losses.