Sharing the road with semis and large trucks can be intimidating and nerve-wracking. Trucks tend to navigate the road differently than regular cars, making their behavior unpredictable. Sharing the road with truck drivers is a give-and-take situation, as truck drivers face many difficulties on the road including the reduced field of vision, slower reactions, and longer stopping time. Below are some safety tips on what you can do to help share the road with large trucks.
Maintain a Safe Distance
Remember to keep a safe distance away from a large truck, as trucks need a much longer time to make a complete stop. Make sure to leave plenty of space for changing lanes and swerving to prevent a truck accident from occurring. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, you should leave at least four seconds between you and the truck for speeds under 40mph. If the speed is over 40mph, you should add an additional second.
Do Not Tailgate
Tailgating any vehicle, especially a large truck, is dangerous. You may assume that you can stop quickly enough to avoid a serious accident with a semi-truck, but that may not be the case. If a truck stops abruptly and a passenger car does not, an underride collision may happen. An underride collision is when a smaller vehicle crashes into the side of a tractor-trailer or slides underneath. To help avoid the risk of an accident, do not tailgate at any time.
Always Use a Signal
When passing a semi or large truck, make sure to signal at least three seconds or more before merging or passing another vehicle. This gives the truck driver more time to react, allowing them to slow down and/or move accordingly. Make sure when you are passing a truck to pass on the left side to make it easy for a truck to take quick action in case of an emergency. Also, remember that semis and trucks are larger than the average passenger vehicle, so always keep that in mind before passing.
Stay Out of the Truck’s Blind Spots
Although truckers have bigger mirrors and a better direct view, they still have large blind spots that your vehicle may be hidden in. A truck’s blind spots are called No Zones, and are directly in front, behind, and along each side of the vehicle. A No Zone is an area in which your car is no longer visible to the truck driver, creating a larger possibility of getting into an accident. If you are unable to see the driver in their side mirror, they probably can’t see you. Avoid the spots as much as possible, as staying in them obstructs the trucker’s vision and ability to make quick movements to avoid dangerous situations.
Anticipate a Trucks Wide Turns
Semi’s and large trucks require extra space and time to turn. The longer the vehicle, the more time and space it takes for them to make a turn. This is why many large trucks tend to swing wide in order to complete the turn. If you see a large truck attempting to make a turn, give the truck driver space and time to make the turn safely.
Do Not Cut Off a Truck
If you are on the highway following a slow truck or semi, it can be very frustrating. Do not speed past a truck just to take your exit quickly. Assess your situation, slow down, and exit behind the truck. That way, the truck will not have to make any fast movements that could possibly affect more passenger vehicles on the road.
Sharing the road with trucks can be difficult and sometimes aggravating. It is important to stay calm and be patient with truck drivers and share the road accordingly. Make sure to follow these safety measures when sharing the road with a large truck.