What Should You Avoid While Driving Near Large Trucks?
Driving near large trucks on the highway isn’t the same as driving around other vehicles. Large trucks like the semi truck or tractor trailers, and other powerful vehicles are usually fully loaded and weigh over 80,000 pounds - or above 40 tons. Hence, all the extra weight makes it difficult for these trucks to respond to dangers on the road or brake quickly.
A car having a head-on collision with a large truck can be a terrible scenario. The disparities in weight and power of these two vehicles make these collisions often result in serious fatalities or injuries. This article will examine what you should avoid when driving near large trucks. Let’s dive in.
4 Things You Shouldn’t Do When Driving Near Large Trucks
You shouldn’t do four major things when driving behind a large truck: cut off the truck, drive in blind spots, get too relaxed, or pass on the right.
Avoid Cutting Off a Truck
Because of its heavy weight, it can be very difficult for a truck to slow down or quickly come to a stop. A truck can take up to three football fields to stop traveling at 60 mph.
If you cut off a truck, the driver will find it hard to stop the vehicle and may plough into the rear portion of your vehicle in what is termed an "override”. An override occurs when the truck isn’t fast enough to slow down, and it’s forced on top of the vehicle in front.
When pulling into the same lane, create more space between you and the truck. This approach is not only courteous, but it will also ensure safety for you and the truck driver.
Avoid Driving in Blind Spots
Commercial trucks have a blind spot in various parts of the vehicle. Let’s see some of a truck’s blind spot:
- Directly in front of the truck
- Along both sides of the truck
- A distance behind the truck, in which you cannot see its side mirrors.
Truck driver probably won’t be able to see your car if you’re driving adjacent to it. Suppose you’re in the blind spot of a truck driver, and the driver decides to change lanes or has to swerve to avoid debris or dodge an obstacle; the outcomes could be extremely dangerous.
Be safe and completely avoid the truck driver’s blind spot. The best spot where the Truck driver can easily see you is on the driver’s side of the truck. Ensure you always pass a commercial truck as quickly and safely as possible and remain ahead of or behind the truck.
Avoid Passing on the right
When driving around commercial trucks, passing on the right is something you shouldn’t do, as it’s generally against the law. If you attempt to pass a truck on the right, you create an avenue for the truck to ram into your car if it’s trying to turn right. Trucks also need to swing widely to the left side to make a right turn, creating a large gap that may make it look like enough room is available to pass.
It’s never a good idea to pass on the right lane, but it’s even bigger if you try to do it to a truck. Take caution and always pass on the left side.
Don’t Get Too Relaxed
Be alert when approaching a truck or seeing one coming toward you. Large trucks do not move the same way as other vehicles on the road. Wind can push trucks into other lanes, tires can go flat onto the road, and the truck can begin drifting across lanes if the driver gets fatigued.
Sadly, truck drivers cannot quickly respond to these situations due to the weight and size of the truck. It would be best to be alert and stay focused to take defensive measures when the truck driver cannot, including applying brakes or change lanes quickly.
Safety Tips To Drive Safely Around Trucks
Let’s now examine some tips to keep you and other drivers safe when driving around trucks ;
1. Practice Safe Passing
It’s always wise to safely pass another vehicle on the road. However, what’s more, it is important to pass safely near a commercial truck because the large, heavy vehicle isn’t unable is stop as fast as a passenger vehicle would. Truck drivers need time to respond appropriately and adjust their brakes and speed accordingly.
Maintain a consistent speed while passing and always make a clear signal ahead of time. When passing a truck, make sure you come from the left, because it makes it easy for the driver to notice you. Before re-entering the lane in front of the truck, ensure you can see it in your rear view mirror to establish a safe distance.
Slow down to give enough space in front of you when a truck passes your vehicle, allowing the driver to efficiently and maneuver safely.
2. Allow Enough time
When you turn or switch lanes near a commercial truck, make your signal as clear and early as possible to give the driver ample time to react to your intended maneuver and reduce speed if required.
When merging, don’t move into the lane in front of a truck if oncoming traffic could reduce speed or come to a complete stop. Trucks take longer to slow down, and an unexpected lane change might not give the driver quality time to avoid ploughing into your bumper.
3. Lengthen Following Distance
Always maintain a driving distance of at least 4 seconds between your vehicle and a large truck. The driver would be unable to see you if you’re tailgating big rigs (semi trucks), or other large vehicles. If you are unable stop in time or are rear-ended while closely traveling behind a truck, your vehicle may get pushed underneath the truck — a catastrophic collision.
In addition, maintaining a safe distance will give you more time to respond to rollovers and tire blowouts caused by high winds. If you’re in a traffic jam at the back of a commercial truck, give extra space between your car and the truck in case the large truck begins to roll backward.
4. Be On The Watch For Wide Turns
Large trucks take more room than passenger vehicles to make turns, and the cab and trailer both follow different paths. A truck might need to swing to the left to have enough room for a right turn or may start making a turn from the middle lane of the traffic.
Stay focused, avoid trying to pass a truck with an active turn signal, and don’t drive between the truck and the curb. When you reach a stopping point at any Intersection, ensure your vehicle is safely at the back of the line because large trucks need that space to make turns.
5. Be Patient while driving
Always exercise patience when sharing the road with commercial trucks. Truck drivers have tight operating rules to follow, and they use regulating devices like a speed limiter which restricts the speed of vehicles. Aggressive driving, honking, or maneuvering through traffic will not make the driver increase speed. Instead, it can place you at risk of causing a truck accident.
6. Put On Your Seat Belt
Aside from the fact that wearing a seatbelt is a law in most states in the U.S, it can also safeguard you if you get involved in a truck accident. Ensure you always buckle kids up in the back seat, in recommended car seats if applicable.
Irrespective of whichever safe driving practices you adopt, a negligent truck driver may put you at risk of an accident. Supposing the truck driver or the company is the cause of your injuries, you may pursue compensation for your lost wages, pain, medical expenses, and any other damage you sustained.