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Driving Tips to Keep You Safe Near Large Trucks

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Posted on January 9, 2023

We rely on the goods and services provided by our favorite stores, restaurants, and online retailers. But the commerce that keeps our society thriving means we must share our roadways with the large trucks tasked with delivering the goods we need to maintain our lifestyles. When a large truck collides with a standard-sized family vehicle, the results can be catastrophic. Fully loaded trucks can way over 80,000 pounds. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities caused by collisions with large trucks increased by 13% between 2020 and 2021.

Because we’ve no alternative but to share the roads with commercial trucks, it’s important to protect ourselves and our families by remaining alert and vigilant when driving near tractor-trailer trucks, 18-wheelers, car-haulers, box trucks, delivery trucks, and many other large commercial vehicles. Keep these important tips in mind when on the road with large trucks.

Avoid Distractions

Distracted driving is one of the fastest-increasing causes of traffic accidents, including accidents with large trucks. Keep your phone out of reach while you drive or use hands-free technology to take calls. Use voice control technology to adjust playlists, and never text and drive. Be especially cautious about distractions when driving near large trucks.

Beware of Blind Spots

Large trucks have large blind spots. The size and shape of trailer trucks and other large trucks make it difficult for drivers to see you when you travel close to them. Remember to avoid lingering alongside trucks; instead, only pass them in parallel lanes when you’re clear to pass swiftly and avoid traveling in the truck’s blind spots. If you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, the driver can’t see you. A truck’s blind spots typically include the following:

  • The twenty feet immediately in front of a truck’s cab
  • The thirty feet directly behind the truck’s trailer
  • Along both sides of a truck
  • Just behind and below the driver’s window

Avoid passing trucks from the right lane which makes it more difficult for the driver to see you than if you pass on the left.

Allow Extra Following Distance

Always leave plenty of following distance when driving behind a large truck. Truck tires often wear out and have blow-outs that send strips of tire rubber flying off and onto the roadway behind them, posing a driving hazard to anyone closely following. With plenty of following distance between your car and a large truck, you’re more likely to have adequate time to avoid tire pieces. Extra distance also allows you to avoid falling cargo from unsecured loads. You’re also better positioned to avoid a pileup in the event of the truck having an accident ahead of you.

If a truck has come to a stop in the lane in front of you, leave extra space before stopping behind it. This protects your car from being propelled under the high trailer in the event that a car hits you from behind.

It’s especially important to leave distance between you and a truck in front of you during rainy, snowy, or icy weather.

Keep A Truck’s Lengthier Stopping Distance in Mind

When merging into a lane in front of a truck, allow plenty of space before you enter the zone in front of the truck. Trucks require up to two football field lengths to come to a complete stop, so it’s safest to leave ample space between your car and a truck following behind.

Trucks Take Wide Turns

The extra length of a truck with a trailer requires them to take wide turns. Keep in mind that a truck making a right turn may first swing to the left in order to make the turn. Slow down and allow plenty of distance between your car and a turning truck.

By following these tips, obeying all traffic laws, and keeping a courteous distance between your car and large trucks whenever possible, you can minimize your risk on the road. If you have been involved in a truck accident, contact a truck accident attorney to discuss your case for free.