Your responsibilities on the road are simple and clear: follow all traffic laws, wear a seatbelt, slow down in construction zones, and pull over to let emergency vehicles pass. Following these explicit responsibilities will help you avoid traffic tickets. Here are 5 implicit responsibilities that will help you avoid unnecessary accidents and injuries:

  1. Don’t assume commercial trucks can see you

Most commercial trucks have a bumper sticker that says, “if you can’t see me in my mirror, I can’t see you.” That’s true, but on the flip side, seeing a driver in their side mirror doesn’t automatically mean they see you. 

Never assume the driver of a large truck can see you, even if you think you’re making eye contact with them. Truck drivers have dozens of things to pay attention to while driving, and it’s possible they may not see you even if you aren’t in their blind spot.

Due to the weight and size of semi-trucks and tractor-trailers, accidents involving a truck and a car have extreme consequences. For instance, injuries are usually more serious for people in the car and multiple companies could be held liable for the crash.

According to Teddy, Meekins & Talbert there are five main causes of truck accidents

  • Driver fatigue
  • Substance abuse
  • Equipment failure
  • Distracted driving
  • Aggressive driving/speeding

Like passenger vehicle drivers, truck drivers are capable of poor and dangerous driving habits. The difference is, when a truck swerves into oncoming traffic because the driver is texting, the result can be far deadlier.

When you drive a car, it’s imperative to be alert and ready for anything. Drive as if every commercial truck you encounter can’t see you. Stay out of blind spots, don’t linger behind or in front, and pass them as quickly (and safely) as possible.

  1. Protect your passengers

As a driver, you’re responsible for more than just obeying traffic laws. You have passengers to protect. Make sure all of your passengers are wearing a seatbelt before you start moving. If anyone refuses to wear a seatbelt, stand your ground and don’t go anywhere.

It would be unfortunate if you got into an accident that injured or killed the person who refused to wear a seatbelt. You could be held liable for knowingly driving a passenger without a seatbelt, especially if that passenger is a minor.

  1. Ask to see a valid driver’s license before loaning your car

You know that friend of yours who’s been driving since they were 16? You’ve been in a car with them many times and know they’re a safe driver, but are you sure they’ve got a valid driver’s license?

You might be surprised to learn that despite the harsh penalties, people drive without a license all the time. If you allow someone to drive your car, no matter who they are, ask them to show you a valid driver’s license. If they don’t have one, or their license is suspended, your insurance company won’t pay for damages if they get into an accident. 

  1. Verify insurance before loaning your car

Before loaning your car to a friend, make sure your insurance policy covers other drivers. While most comprehensive and collision coverage does cover other drivers, there’s a small chance it doesn’t. 

Car insurance follows the car, not the driver. When you loan your car to a friend, your car insurance is the primary coverage and their insurance would only serve as secondary coverage. If your friend causes an accident, you’ll need to file a claim with your insurance company, pay your deductible, and your rates might go up. Your friend might be responsible for making up the difference if your insurance doesn’t cover everything. If your friend isn’t insured, injured parties can sue you if the damage exceeds your insurance policy limits.

If your friend is involved in an accident they didn’t cause, your insurance won’t take the hit. However, you can’t know your friend won’t cause an accident. Always verify current insurance before loaning your car to anyone.

  1. Don’t talk and drive if conversations distract you

The law might allow you to have hands-free conversations while you drive but that doesn’t mean you should. If conversations distract you, don’t talk while you drive. The same applies to conversations with passengers. 

Be prepared for the unexpected

Being a responsible driver requires being alert and not getting too comfortable with the flow of traffic. You never know when someone will pull out of a lane of stopped traffic, or make a last-minute turn from the wrong lane.