When drivers operate their commercial trucks, they do so with caution. Truckers keep in mind that they share the road with other vehicles, and adjust their driving accordingly. The other drivers on the road can do their part to drive safely near these large commercial vehicles. Not only will this defensive driving make it easier for truckers to drive their trailers safely, but it can also prevent the other drivers from getting into serious accidents themselves. Here are some must-know tips for vehicles when sharing the road with commercial trucks.
Give Extra Space
Truck drivers try to maintain ample distance from other vehicles because a truck’s braking distance is much greater than that of an average car. Commercial trucks need substantially more space in front and behind them, and sometimes even to their sides. Drivers of large vehicles need the extra space for cushion around them in case they need to perform some emergency maneuvers. If you feel that a truck is too close behind your vehicle, switch to a different lane to create space. Remember to leave extra space to the sides of the truck when it is turning, as well.
Stay Out of Blind Spots
Commercial trucks have blind spots on all four sides around the vehicle. The driver will not be able to see the road at least 20 feet in front, 30 feet behind, about 20 ft from behind the left rearview mirror, and nearly all of the two lanes on the right of the truck. When other vehicles linger in these blind spots for too long, the truck driver is not sure if it’s safe for them to move into these areas. It is in all party’s best interest to respect the blind spots.
Pass the Truck Safely
Because truckers are obligated to not drive over a certain speed, there may be times you will need to pass the truck. There are a couple of ways to do this safely. While behind the truck (and out of the blind spot), signal your intention to switch lanes, ideally to the left. Maintain a steady speed until you have passed and created ample space in front of the truck before merging back into the lane. Cutting off a truck at any speed can lead to a disastrous accident.
Take Weather Into Account
All drivers should be extra cautious and adjust their driving in stormy or icy road conditions. During inclement weather, commercial trucks will move even more cautiously, if not get off the road altogether until driving conditions improve. Other drivers should be mindful of reducing speeds and giving even more space to trucks they encounter on the road.
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