How to Safely Share the Road with Big Rigs
Even a full-size SUV or a monster truck can feel inadequate on the road next to a big rig. A semi-truck, even one with less than 18 wheels, casts a wide shadow, and most car and truck drivers feel some level of anxiousness when driving alongside such a beast.
But really, it’s the semi-trucks that should fear the smaller vehicles. Just like big dogs fear small, yippy dogs, semi-trucks have the right to be confused and wary of the smaller species of vehicles.
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WomeninTrucking.com writer Sandy Long cites that statistics show approximately “79 percent of all accidents involving semi-trucks are caused by car drivers,” and DriversEdGuru.com cites that “recent research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study found that of all truck-related car fatalities, 75 percent are car-initiated.”
No matter the numbers (which are frighteningly high), one accident involving a car and truck is too many. So, in order to share the road with the big dogs, car drivers should take into account these driving tips from Long:
- Give plenty of room to vehicles, especially semi-trucks, when passing and merging in front of them.
- Look for the big side mirrors on a truck’s door. Remember if you cannot see the trucker, he/she cannot see you.
- Never tailgate any vehicle, especially semi-trucks. Increase following distance if road conditions are bad.
- Use the appropriate manufacturer’s signaling devices to alert others to your planned movements or to traffic slowdowns or stoppages.
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The experts at esurance.com advise car drivers to “operate under the assumption that the truck driver can’t see you,” noting that “truck drivers may need to swing wide to the left in order to make a right turn, so trying to squeeze directly behind or beside them could cause a collision.” Instead, drivers should halt any maneuvers until after the truck driver has signaled where he or she is planning to turn, and of course, give the truck plenty of space.
When passing a truck, car drivers should always pass on the left, according to DriversEdGuru.com, and drivers of cars and trucks should avoid stopping abruptly in front of a semi truck since trucks require more time to come to a full stop. Drivers of cars should keep extra space between themselves and trucks when navigating a hill, and it’s best to steer clear of semi-trucks on blustery days, advises DriversEdGuru.com, which adds that erratic driving behavior can lead to a collision or accident.
There’s more than enough road to share when drivers, of all types of vehicles, give each other some room and consideration.