Most drivers encounter semi-trucks in traffic daily. But did you know drivers in passenger vehicles cause an alarming 75% of commercial vehicle accidents? While actions such as driving under the influence or distracted driving can play a role in these collisions, often, drivers simply don’t know how to maneuver around large semi-trucks safely.
Due to their size, commercial trucks have limitations on the road that other vehicles don’t have to consider, including large blind spots and slower stopping time. To keep roadways safer and avoid devastating accidents, here are a few good driving habits to practice when sharing the road with a semi:
Avoid the “no-zones”
Most vehicles have blind spots they must be aware of in traffic, but large trucks have blind spots on all four sides. Don’t linger too long in any of the semi’s no-zones. Next to a semi, slow down or accelerate to ensure that you remain visible to the truck driver. Remember that if you cannot see the driver in their side mirrors, they likely can’t see you.
When passing a semi, be sure not to linger too long in the blind spots and make sure you see the driver in their side mirror first. Whenever possible, pass a semi on their left side as this side has a smaller blind spot than the right. Ensure you can see the truck in your review mirror before merging and leave plenty of space.
Don’t cut them off
While it’s dangerous to cut off any vehicle on the road, it’s especially true for semi-trucks. Not only could you find yourself in a blind spot, but you may not leave enough space if the truck needs to stop quickly and avoid a crash. Even in ideal conditions, it takes a fully loaded truck traveling at highway speeds the distance of two football fields to stop completely.
Leave space for turns
Large trucks have a turning radius of 55 feet. Because they require extra room, the driver may swing wide or start the turn from the middle lane to turn the truck. If you see a semi with their turn signal on, never try to squeeze between them or stop in front of the line at intersections so they can turn safely.
All drivers have a responsibility to practice safe driving habits on the road. By exercising extra caution when driving near a semi, you can help prevent deadly accidents.