EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – A recent deadly crash involving a pickup truck and a semi has caused some to wonder if car drivers are looking out for the mammoth machines.
While that crash is still under investigation, the Wisconsin State Patrol says it’s seeing more crashes involving cars and 18-wheelers.
The State Patrol said there are lots of reasons why this is happening, but what continues to be a problem is drivers who aren't keeping both hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
“The roads are becoming more crowded, which certainly plays a role. I think a lot of it comes to distracted driving, whether it be the coffee cups, the cell phones,” said Sgt. William Berger.
Sgt. Berger said a good number of car and semi crashes also come from people driving in trucks' blind spots.
Truck drivers call them "no zones", which are directly behind the trailer, to either side and right in front.
Sgt. Berger said troopers see a lot of collisions from drivers passing a semi too quickly or too slowly.
“Make sure you have a far enough distance where you can safely pass because they are larger in size. The other thing is upon completing that pass, to be careful not to cut in too soon,” Sgt. Berger said.
WEAU talked to long-time truck driver Andrew Dickinson at the Leonard’s Transportation truck terminal in Eau Claire Monday afternoon.
Dickinson said truckers often have to slow down their driving to make sure there's a safe zone between cars.
“What creates a problem for us is people cutting us off. We're not able to stop on a dime. The cars are much more capable of stopping in a shorter distance as opposed to 80,000 lbs. or better going down the road,” Dickinson said.
Drivers WEAU talked to said they're aware of the dangers semi trucks pose, but some say not everyone is as cautious.
“They don't think about that they're part of a system on a road, that they have to be careful and be aware of everyone around them,” said Kathy Palmquist.
Truckers say they're always on their toes, watching out for other drivers.
“Just be careful, think about what you’re doing there. Leave the phone call for later on,” Dickinson said.
The State Patrol said you can get a ticket in the hundreds of dollars if you're caught following a semi too close or cut one off.