The trucking industry is critical to our country’s logistics ecosystem—but driving next to big rigs and other large vehicles can be nerve-wracking for some drivers. Other drivers may approach these vehicles recklessly, not realizing the sheer devastation that truck accidents can cause.
Follow these tips to navigate the roads safely alongside large vehicles.
- Understand and avoid truck blind spots. Trucks have much larger blind spots than passenger vehicles, so it’s wise to avoid them whenever possible. Although most trucks have multiple mirrors to cut down on blind spots, there’s no guarantee that the driver is watching at that particular moment. Avoid hanging out 20 feet in front of the truck and 30 feet behind it. You should also assume that if you’re one lane over on the driver’s side, they can’t see you unless you’re near the end of the trailer. Similarly, their passenger side blind spot extends two lanes over and past the end of the trailer.
- Pass safely. Big rigs can’t slow down and stop as fast as a passenger vehicle. When you pass a truck or other large vehicle, be sure to pass on the left side only so that the driver can see you. Signal early and stay at a consistent speed while passing, and allow plenty of space before you merge back into the lane. If a truck is passing you, slow down—even if you’re in a hurry—so they can pass safely.
- Give them time and space. Trucks need extra time and space to maneuver. Take special care not to merge in front of them and brake suddenly—they may not be able to stop. Similarly, increase your following distance. If a driver has to stop suddenly, your car may be pushed underneath the trailer. You also want to be far away in case a tire blows out.
- Watch out for wide turns. Remember that trucks need extra space to turn. They may have to swing wide to make a right turn, or use several lanes of traffic to make a left. Never try to zip around them, or you could find yourself colliding with the tractor.
Exercising caution and patience around large vehicles will help keep you safe. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, be sure to call a personal injury attorney to recover compensation for your losses.
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