Driving next to a large semi-truck can be challenging, and some drivers may not know how to approach this situation correctly. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), passenger cars are primarily at fault in roughly 75% of fatal truck-related collisions. An accident involving a large truck can potentially be fatal and result in catastrophic injuries due to the considerable mass of a commercial truck and the heavy loads they carry. Here are tips to consider when sharing the road with a massive truck:
Keep a Safe Distance
Many individuals don’t realize the massive difference between a large truck and a passenger car and its role in driver safety. Passenger drivers should be aware that larger vehicles require more room on the road because of the driving challenges truck drivers face, such as acceleration, maneuverability, and breaking.
Although the type of truck and the loads they carry may vary, the legal weight for an eighteen-wheeler is approximately 80,000 lbs and 40 tons -- making trucks roughly 20 to 30 times heavier than passenger vehicles. Due to this weight, it's important that you leave ample space between your vehicle and a large truck. Heavier trucks require a longer braking distance which means they need more space and time to stop.
Avoid Blind Spots
The larger a vehicle, the bigger the blind spots, thus reducing the driver’s field of vision. While driving, stay out of the truck’s “no-zone.” The no-zones are a truck’s blind spots, referring to the areas surrounding the truck where passenger cars are no longer visible. The blindspot areas of a truck are:
- In front of the truck
- Behind the truck
- Along each side of the truck, particularly the right side, which has the most significant blind spot
Properly Pass a Large Truck
When it is safe to do so, passenger drivers should always pass quickly and on the left side of a large vehicle. Avoid cutting a truck off; this could lead to a dangerous accident. Before passing:
- Try to remain visible to the truck driver
- Ensure that you can see the driver in the truck’s side mirror before passing
- Don’t linger in blind spots
Passenger cars should take extra safety precautions while driving near a large commercial vehicle to avoid a fatal accident.