In The Shadows Of Big Rigs: Driving Safely Near Trucks

How to drive safe near large trucks

Many people feel anxious about driving near large trucks. Trapped on a highway beside these vehicles, one wrong move could lead to a car accident – and the cascade of physical and psychological consequences stemming from such a crash.

This fear is hardly irrational since passenger vehicles fare terribly when they’re involved in truck accidents, but the good news is that proper defensive driving practices can help keep you safe.

Next time you’re on the road, implement the following strategies and notice the difference. By taking control of your own destiny on the road, you can enjoy a greater sense of security.

Know The “No Zones”

As a passenger vehicle, one of the most dangerous things you can do is drive in a truck’s blind spots, and large trucks have several. Sometimes referred to as “no zones,” these blind spots include the 20 feet immediately in front of the cab, 30 feet behind the trailer, as well as a section of the left lane immediately next to the truck, and a large part of the two right lanes running diagonally from the cab.

That’s a lot of space, right? The point is, you need to give trucks a wide berth, and if you don’t feel certain that the driver can see you leave more space.

Only Pass On The Left

Truck drivers have much greater visibility on their left side, where they’re sitting than on the right, so if you need to pass a truck, do so on the left and remember where the driver’s blind spot is. Ensure the cab is in your rearview mirror and leave plenty of space between you and the truck when you pull ahead. You don’t want to pass into a “no zone.”

Leave Room To Turn

One common reason those passenger vehicles are involved in truck accidents is that they don’t leave enough space for trucks to turn, especially on the right. As noted above, trucks have enormous blind spots on the right side, but cars can also be hit if they’re in the cab track during a turn, trucks have a very wide turn radius and it’s easy to end up in the path of the trailer.

In the midst of these safety worries, there is some good news. More trucks are using sensors and cameras to reduce the risk, so if you’re involved in a truck accident, you’ll want to request vehicle sensor data.

Truck accident cases often involve more evidence than similar cases involving cars because truckers and truck companies need to keep extensive records regarding work hours, maintenance, and cargo, among other factors.

Be Ready To Stop

Trucks need more space and time to stop because their vehicles are larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, so as with turning, you want to ensure you give them enough space to stop. This is especially important if a truck needs to stop suddenly because, if you’re too close, either behind or in front of a truck, you can collide and your car can be pulled under the truck.

More than 4100 people died in truck accidents in 2017, and only 17% of these deaths were truck occupants. Rather, 68% were those in passenger vehicles, while 14% were pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. When on the road beside a truck, you’re in much greater danger of being injured or killed compared to the person piloting that vehicle. Your safety is in your hands, so take control.

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