Sharing the road with commercial trucks is a necessity. These large vehicles provide an inexpensive and effective form of transportation for goods throughout the country. Since we need to share the road with commercial vehicles, it is a good idea to learn ways we can try to avoid a crash if possible.
1. Avoid the truck’s blind spots.
Commercial trucks have large blind spots that cover most of the entire truck. Learning where these “no zones” or blind spots are located can help you avoid a crash. A truck driver’s blind spot extends about 20 feet in front of the truck, 30 feet behind the truck, one lane to the left, and two lanes to the right.
2. Let the truck driver know your intention.
Use your turn signals whenever you are driving near a commercial truck. A large truck cannot stop quickly. If the driver knows that you are merging in front of the truck or you are turning, he or she can begin slowing down in anticipation of your maneuver. Use signals as much as possible to help tell other drivers your intention.
3. Allow additional room when passing a commercial truck.
Cutting in front of a large truck is extremely dangerous. If you are in the blind spot, the truck driver cannot see your vehicle. Make sure that when you are passing a commercial vehicle, there is 20 feet or more between your vehicle and the truck before merging into the truck’s lane. Always use your turn signal to give the driver as much time as possible to react or adjust the truck’s speed if necessary before you move into the lane.
4. Do not drive while distracted.
You may not be able to control the actions of a truck driver, but you can control your actions while driving. Avoid all distractions while driving. Distracted driving places you at a higher risk of being involved in a traffic accident. Be safe, not sorry.
5. Do not drive with your high beams behind a truck.
Some drivers believe that the vehicle’s high beams do not impact a truck driver because of the distance to the front of the truck or the height of the truck. However, your high beams can be just as blinding for a truck driver as they are for any other motorist.
6. Do not drive between two commercial trucks.
Avoid driving between two large trucks whenever possible because your vehicle could be caught in a wind draft between the trucks. You are also in the blind spot of both trucks. If you must pass between two trucks, do so as quickly as safety and speed limits allow.
7. Give commercial trucks more room to maneuver.
In general, it is best to give a large truck as much room as possible to maneuver. For example, a truck driver may need to slam on breaks. If you are following too closely, your vehicle could slide under the truck. Trucks are also prone to tire blowouts, which can cause large pieces of tire to fly in front of or strike your vehicle. High winds and heavy loads can also make large trucks prone to rollover accidents.