COVID-19 has presented a number of unforeseeable circumstances that have changed our lives as we know them. E-commerce has seen a massive boom in light of the virus. That means more trucks are on the roads now than ever before.
With more trucks on the roads also comes more truck-related accidents. It’s important to understand that trucks are not just large cars. There are many differences that motorists should be aware of to help reduce the number of truck accidents that occur each year.
Here are some tips for staying safe near large trucks:
Stay Out of Their Blind Spots
The blind spots on large trucks are massive. If you’re driving in any of the following areas, the truck driver may not be able to see you:
- The lane on the driver’s side extending to about half of the trailer’s length
- 30 feet behind the truck
- 20 feet in front of the truck
- Two lanes wide to the right of the truck
If you’re unable to see the driver in the truck’s mirrors, then it’s safe to say the trucker can’t see you, either.
Be Mindful When Passing
Always use caution when passing a truck. Big-rigs can’t stop or maneuver as quickly and easily as other types of vehicles, which means truckers need extra time and space to react and adjust their speed. It’s critical to keep the following in mind:
- Don’t pass a truck while going up or downhill.
- Trucks naturally increase or decrease their speeds, making this an unsafe behavior.
- Only pass trucks on the left.
- Truckers may not be able to see you if you pass on the right side.
- Only merge into the lane in front of a truck when you can see the truck driver clearly in your rearview mirror.
- If you can’t see the driver, they likely can’t see you, either.
- Don’t try to overtake a truck that’d like to pass you.
- Give trucks ample time and space to pass you.
Provide Clear Signals
Minimize the number of unexpected maneuvers you make near large trucks. Use clear signals so that the trucker can predict your actions. Turn on your signal sooner than you typically would for other motorists.
Give Trucks Lots of Space
Never drive near large trucks for extended periods of time. Doing so puts you at an elevated risk of being involved in a collision caused by any of the following:
- Tire blowouts
- Pieces of rubber can be torn from a truck’s tire and hit your vehicle.
- Sudden braking
- If a truck must come to an unexpected stop, it’s possible that your car could slide under the truck, or the truck could tip over.
- Strong winds
- Trucks can easily roll over during strong winds.
Additionally, trucks need ample space—sometimes two full lanes—when making turns.
Use Caution When Merging
If traffic is coming to a stop, don’t merge in front of a big-rig. It’s not easy for a truck to slow down rapidly, and the last thing you want to do is be in the way as the trucker is braking.
If a truck is passing you, slow down to reduce the truck’s passing time.
While it’s not always easy to remain fully focused on the road while driving, it’s in everyone’s best interest to do so. Avoid all behaviors that take your mind, hands, or eyes away from the road, such as:
- Using your phone
- Eating food
- Drinking liquids
- Paying attention to distracting passengers