If you find yourself changing lanes, slowing down or making similar efforts to keep from having to drive near semi-trucks, you are not alone. Given the sheer size of such vehicles, they are prone to obstructing your vision, and this is one of many reasons motorists often try and avoid them on the roadway altogether.
Doing so is not always an option, however, and you will inevitably find yourself in situations where you have no choice but to share the road with truckers. When these circumstances arise, be sure to:
Avoid lingering behind the truck
To improve visibility and make sure you leave yourself ample room to stop, keep back a considerable distance when you find yourself traveling behind a large truck. A good rule of thumb is to leave about four seconds of time between you and the tractor trailer. Try identifying an object at the side of the road, such as a billboard. Once the trucker passes it, count out four seconds. If you also pass the billboard within that time, you are probably following too closely.
Avoid blind spots to the fullest extent possible
Every vehicle has blind spots, or areas surrounding the car that you cannot clearly see while driving. For truckers, these blind spots are considerably larger and are sometimes referred to as “no zones.” LiveTrucking.com reports that about a third of all deadly trucking accidents result when other vehicles are in a truck’s blind spot and invisible to the operator, so avoid following closely behind or on either side of large trucks as much as possible.
Pass with caution, if you must pass
While for safety’s sake, it is generally best to avoid passing commercial trucks entirely, if you must do so, there are steps to take to reduce your chances of a crash. First and foremost, take care when driving past. Make sure you have ample room to do so, and that there is not another vehicle directly in front of the truck ahead of you. Additionally, passing on the left is typically safer than on the right, so if the need arises to get around the truck , keep this in mind and plan accordingly.
When trying to keep yourself and your passengers safe while sharing the road with tractor trailers, be sure to maintain common sense. Avoid making any sudden, erratic or unpredictable moves, and always try to maintain a large distance between you and the truck. If you do find yourself involved in an accident with a semi-truck, consider getting in contact with a lawyer.