Sharing the open road safely with big vehicles

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The truck driver charged in that limo crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that killed a man and injured four others, including comedian Tracy Morgan, pleaded not guilty.

There are reports that he didn’t get enough sleep.

Big rig tractor trailers, trucks and buses; if you drive down any highway you’ll see plenty of vehicles bigger than yours. So how can we share and navigate the open road together, safely?

Kathleen Gauger of Westhampton told 22News, “I try to avoid highways. But otherwise I try to give any vehicle bigger than myself the right of way and I just try to steer clear knowing that a lot of truck drivers are tired.”

A GEICO report offers some tips. Stay away from a tractor trailers blind spots on the front back and sides of the truck. If you can’t see the vehicle’s side mirror, they can’t see you.

Avoid using potentially confusing signals such as flashing your headlights. Tractor Trailer drivers may interpret that in a number of ways, including that there’s a police car up ahead, or that you want them to change lanes.

“The more you drive, the more likely its going to be that at some point in your travels, something is going to happen whether its you make a mistake or someone makes a mistake near you and it cascades. So do I think that they are more unsafe than anyone else driving? No probably not,” said Karl Jassen of Barkhamsted, CT.

People told 22News they have a great respect for truck drivers.

Eric Hnatow of Turners Falls told 22News, “If you have something in your life, chances are a tractor trailer truck moved it. You should respect that and give them the space and time that they need to move things.”

Other tips include avoiding swerving in front of a big truck. Remember, they have a wider turn radius, and the bigger the vehicle, the longer it can take them to stop.

As for the driver charged in that accident. A criminal complaint says he was awake for 24 hours.

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