Who doesn’t feel edgy when driving near semi-trucks on the highway? A collision with a semi-truck can be a scary situation, and often fatal.
However, learning the limitations of semi-trucks helps drivers make safer decisions when sharing the road with them. Here are some tips that can help you safely share the road with semi-trucks and prevent dangerous accidents that can cause vehicle damage or worse, death.
Stay out of semi-truck blind spots
A blind spot is an area around a vehicle where the driver cannot see other vehicles in the side-view or rearview mirrors. Truck blind spots will take up more space than other vehicles since they are bigger.
It is necessary to understand where these blind spots are to prevent casualties. The followings are some common areas where truck drivers can’t see:
- About 20 feet in front of the truck
- Around 30 feet behind the attached trailer
- The right side of the cab behind the mirror
- The left side of the cab behind the mirror
- The left side of the trailer near the front
A good thumb rule to follow is if you cannot see the truck driver’s mirrors clearly, he likely cannot see you.
Give semi-trucks a lot of room to maneuver safely
Trucks need more room to maneuver safely because of their larger size and weight. Truck drivers need more space to stop. Give them enough space to make tight turns or switch lanes. This includes:
- Leaving room for truck drivers to change lanes when needed
- Not pulling over in front of big trucks
- Allowing the truck plenty of room to make turns
As a driver of a smaller vehicle, please slow down and stay as far away as you can to reduce the risk of collisions.
Use turn signals
Please be mindful when driving on the road by using your turn signal to indicate your intent to other drivers.
An example is if you intend to make a turn. You may tap your brakes and turn on the signal to inform them that you are turning soon. This helps the other drivers to determine their next moves, as such, slow down their vehicles and prevent a rear collision.
Another example is if passing a semi-truck on the road. Please make sure you use your signals. The truck drivers will slow their rate of speed and even flash their headlights to signal you when you can safely move your vehicle over.
Dim your brights
Bright lights can help your visibility on the road, mainly at night. However, they can temporarily blind a driver and potentially cause an accident.
Turn off your brights temporarily when passing or driving behind a truck.
Don’t tailgate a semi-trucks
You might assume that you can stop fast enough if a semi-truck in front of you stops abruptly. Don’t take any risks because you may not be able to stop in time and hit the truck.
Tailgating often results in an underride collision, where a smaller vehicle will slip under the trailer of the truck. This can cause severe injuries to the passengers in the vehicle, which can be deadly too. To make it worse, the person behind you may also unable to stop in time and hits your vehicle.
Therefore, please keep your distance from semi truck to prevent any possible casualities.
Slow down in bad weather
Semi-trucks drivers face even more risks on wet roads to control their vehicles and stop in an emergency.
Slippery roads after the rain can decrease the number of traction trucks have on the road and leads to slipping. These conditions are even more dangerous for trucks and may cause the trailer to sway behind the cab. This incident is namely jackknifing where a truck flips or swings into other lanes.
Drive carefully when sharing the road with semi-trucks
You will always bound to drive next or behind semi-trucks on highway. What you can do is to drive carefully and be more alert when driving past them. It is helpful to learn some info about trucks and how to address them on the road for your safety.
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