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Truck Law

Safe Truck Driving Tips

Safe Truck Driving Tips

Accidents involving large trucks can result in devastating consequences, due to their sheer size and weight. This probably comes at no surprise to most, since driving next to one of these hefty vehicles is enough to make anyone a little nervous. A “large” truck is any medium or heavy truck, not including motorhomes or buses, that has a total vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds.

As reported in the National Safety Council’s NSC Injury Facts, large trucks accounted for:

  • 9% of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes
  • 4% of all registered vehicles
  • 10% of total vehicle miles traveled

It is recommended that drivers who share the road with semi or commercial trucks take the following safety tips into consideration:

What is a trucker’s blind spot?

There are bigger blind spots for a truck driver compared to drivers of other types of vehicles. This can make it harder for a trucker to see a car that is approaching. When near a semi truck, try to avoid the 20 foot area ahead of the truck, 30 foot area behind the truck, two lanes wide on the trucker’s right side, and the lane on the trucker’s side to half the trailer length. Remember that the trucker may not see you if you cannot see them in their side mirrors.

How can I pass safely in front of a semi?

Commercial trucks are heavier and more vast than other vehicles, so they require more distance and time to get through traffic. You should always use your signals and abide by other rules of the road, which includes using your turn signals before you change lanes near a semi truck. Using your signals will alert the trucker to your intentions and they can adjust their speed and space accordingly. If the trucker does not see you or respond to your signal, do not cut in front of them, instead allow space for them to pass first, and then move as you need to.

Why do I need to allow extra space?

If the trucker does not have enough space between their vehicle and others, accidents can happen. Allow extra space for commercial trucks, more than you would for any other type of vehicle. A truck may verge slightly into two lanes when making a wide turn, so do not pass a truck that is going right while you are on their right side. You could get jammed between the truck side and the curb or off the road. Driving too close to a semi raises the odds of being in an accident, which can happen if high winds cause rollovers, the truck brakes suddenly, or there is a tire blowout.

When is the best time to pass a truck?

Commercial trucks require more space and time to maneuver with traffic, so always use caution when passing them. Drivers of semi trucks may increase or decrease their speed when going downhill or uphill, so try to not pass them in these moments. It is easier for a trucker to see you if you are traveling on their left side, so passing on the left while maintaining speed and using your signal will be the safest.

Everyone has to share the road, and we can all reduce the odds of a serious crash if we take preventative measures ourselves to practice better driving safety. Trucks, such as semis and commercial vehicles, pose an even greater danger because of their size and weight, so being cautious when driving in the presence of them is strongly advised. For more information on truck laws in your area, contact Truck Law today.