Semi trucks can be a huge source of frustration for many motorists. They can block a driver’s view, they might drive below the speed limit and they can be intimidating to pass on the highway.
In fact, many accidents involving semi trucks are not caused by the trucker, but by the driver of the car. The three most common types of truck accidents happen because:
- The trucker couldn’t stop in time
- A driver attempted to pass the truck on the right while it was making a right hand turn
- A driver was riding in the trucker’s blind spot
Trucks are hauling heavy loads, so it’s important that we do everything we can to make it easier for them. Driving a truck is much more difficult. If driving is easier for them, then it’s safer for everyone else. Here are some tips for driving near semi trucks:
Avoid Their Blind Spots
Everyone is afraid a trucker will cut them off, but when that does happen, it’s usually because the motorist was driving in the trucker’s blind spot. Pass quickly or stay back. If you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, then the trucker can’t see you.
Don’t Cut Them Off
It takes trucks three times as long to brake as it takes a regular vehicle. Braking is harder for trucks, so when you’re driving near one, be courteous and give them more space, especially in rainy weather.
Accommodate Truckers When You Can
Because they’re so much larger, it’s more difficult for truckers to merge or change lanes. Just let them in. It might take them a few seconds to accelerate, but staying safe is worth the wait. Also be careful when a truck is trying to maneuver on the road. For example, if they are trying to take a hard turn, or backing up to drop off their load, don’t try to pass them while they are turning. Never try to pass a truck on the right if they are making a right turn. Be careful trying to pass a wide load.
Be Careful on Hills
Due to their large load, trucks will need to take hills slower, but on the other side of the hill, momentum will carry them down quickly. Don’t try to cut them off here. It’s hard enough for them to brake, let alone when they are speeding down a hill. Plus, they like to use the momentum they build going down a hill to help them get up the next one. Also, never block an emergency truck ramp.
In general, practice defensive driving and always be alert when around semi trucks. Don’t be aggressive. Your goal to cut your travel time short could cut your life short. A few extra minutes are never worth the risk.