They are colossal, weigh several tons and share the road with other vehicles. They also, sometimes, intimidate the average driver and cause potential dangers. Semi-trucks are an important part of U.S. commerce and the country’s supply chain, hauling cargo from state to state.
But, still, you wonder how to drive safely around these large vehicles. Never take for granted the necessary precautionary measures when sharing the road with big-rig trucks. A collision with one of these monstrous vehicles can lead to catastrophic or fatal injuries to drivers and passengers of much smaller vehicles.
Blind spots, safe passing and wide turns
Here are some crucial pointers to keep in mind when sharing the roadways with large trucks:
- Be aware of the truck’s blind spots. Large trucks have blind spots or “no zones” in the front, back and sides. Avoid driving in these areas. If a truck driver does not see you, he or she may turn into your car.
- Safe passing is essential. Make sure to use your turn signal to show your intention to move into the other lane. Then pass the truck as quickly as possible. You will be in the truck driver’s blind spot momentarily, but not too long. Once you passed the truck, make sure there is a safe distance between your vehicles before getting in front of it. A general rule of thumb: Wait until you see the truck’s two headlights in your rearview mirror before making the move.
- When a truck changes lane in front of you, make sure provide it with a great amount of space.
- Avoid swerving in front of a large truck. Such an action may force the truck driver to make an abrupt stop to avoid colliding with your vehicle. In most cases, an 18-wheeler cannot stop in time.
- Stay at a safe distance and do not tailgate. Doing the latter would place you in the blind spot of the large truck. Failing to stop in time or being struck from behind by another vehicle could lead to your vehicle sliding under the truck in an underride collision.
- Remain aware of a truck’s wide turns. Because these vehicles are so large, truck drivers frequently make wide turns, swinging the big rig to the left before turning right. Do not attempt to maneuver between the truck and the curb. The truck driver may not see you.
Remain alert, cautious and abide by specific safety-related rules of the road. In doing so, you likely ensure that you and your passengers have a safe trip.