How to safely share the road with big rigs
All of us need truck drivers to deliver goods across our country. They work hard and have a taxing job. Most are well-trained and very safe drivers. That said it is important for us, as drivers of much small motor vehicles, to know how to safely share the road with big rigs.
We must accommodate truck drivers on the road because they have mechanical limitations that we do not. If we understand these limitations and take appropriate action, we will have safer highways.
How to safely share the road with big trucks:
The following shows the limitations of big trucks and what we can do to make our driving near them a safer experience.
Truckers have larger blind spots. Because of their size, big rigs have several blind spots on their sides, and their front and back that extend for a longer range than a car. This means there are certain points along the way when you are passing a trucker that he can’t see you. Don’t drive along side of a big rig or too closely behind it. Either slow down to drive a safe distance behind it, or pass the rig, without hesitating, on the left side (after signaling your intention) where there are fewer blind spots. If you follow a truck too closely and it makes a sudden stop, your vehicle could slide under it.
If a truck wants to pass, let it. Some drivers don’t want a truck in front of them so they speed up to prevent it from passing them. This is dangerous for several reasons, including staying in the trucker’s blind spots. When a trucker wants to pass you, make it easier for him by slowing down and/or getting into the right lane. This will help the trucker pass smoothly and keep you out of his blind spot.
Trucks take a longer time to stop and require longer distances to do so. Because of their size and weight, big rigs cannot stop quickly, and cover a lot of ground while trying. The heavier the load, the longer the stopping time. Never get in front of a truck after passing it and then put on your brakes. You surely risk getting rear-ended. Make sure the truck is visible in your rear mirror before you pull in front of it. Don’t pass on a downgrade because large trucks pick up speed due to their weight and size. Give yourself plenty of distance driving in front, behind or next to a trucker.
Trucks are slower to react and maneuver. Because of their size, big rigs are much slower to merge, change lanes or react to a traffic situation. You may need to slow down a bit, but give the truck plenty of room to maneuver. Following a safe distance behind will enable you to see a traffic situation up ahead and react accordingly.
Trucks need room to make a turn, especially when making a right turn. Trucks need up to 55 feet to make a right turn.
Give a turning truck plenty of room. If you underestimate this space, the truck can hit your vehicle.
The most important messages here are to drive courteously, make the trucker aware of your intentions, stay super-aware when driving near a big rig, and give it plenty of space.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, please call us so we can discuss your case. All consultations are free.
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