6 Safe Driving Tips When Next to a Big Rig Truck
How to Drive Safely When Next to a Big Rig?
Operating any motor vehicle poses some sort of risk. However, these risks can quickly become compounded when a motor vehicle is in close proximity to a big rig truck. Due to the sheer size, weight, longer times for the truck to brake, blind spots and tight deadlines affiliated with the job, passenger vehicle motorists should not treat trucks the same as passenger vehicles.
#1 Avoid The Blindspots
Ever look at the side view mirrors of a large truck? Notice anything different about them? They have numerous mirrors at different angles to help offset the numerous blind spots of their vehicle. Larger vehicles have larger blind spots, and this is absolutely the case with many semi-trucks.
When driving next to a big-rig, think about whether or not they can see you. If you believe you are in a truck’s blind spot, you should do your best to pass, or provide sufficient space and yield to the truck. If a driver sits in a truckers blind spot, the passenger vehicle is prone and more susceptible to a side-swipe accident. When driving next to a vehicle, do your best to pass in a safe manner or yield to the truck to leave ample amounts of space (twenty feet in the front of the truck and thirty feet behind the truck).
#2 Pass On the Left
If you drive on the right side of the road, it is of utmost importance to pass on the left side of a big-rig. Turn on your turn signal and pass the truck in a safe and prompt manner. Remember to never pass a truck, or any vehicle, in the right lane.
Avoid waiting in any truck’s blind spot as the truck driver can potentially be unaware that there is a vehicle. Move forward and pass the truck in a safe manner.
#3 Pass With Plenty of Space
Threading the needle is great when one is sewing. Threading the needle when maneuvering multi-ton vehicles is entirely different. Attempting to pass with minimal space can lead to a potentially catastrophic situation involving a truck accident.
When passing a truck remember to pass with ample amounts of space. Do not attempt high risk options that involve cutting it close and then quickly braking. Semi trucks can take as much as 600+ feet (equivalent to two football fields) for a truck to stop while traveling 65 miles per hour. High-risk maneuvers can lead to trucking accidents as passenger vehicle that pass in unsafe circumstances can cause accidents.
Do not pass and then quickly return to the lane of the truck without ample space between the two vehicles. When roads are exposed to inclement weather, trucks can take even longer to decelerate.
#4 Use Signals
Signals are used as an indicator to other cars around the vehicle of your future intentions. Whenever you pass a vehicle, or make a lane change, ensure that you indicate your lane intentions with a signal. Signaling alerts the operators around you of your next move.
If you need to pass on a two lane road, one lane in each direction, always ensure that you signal the intention to pass the truck while the truck can see your vehicle in their rear-view mirrors.
#5 - Keep an Eye Out for Wide Turns
Those placards on the back of semi-trucks are there for a reason. Trucks carrying trailers have a much wider turning radius than smaller vehicles. When a truck has their turning signal on, do not attempt to pass the truck.
#6 - Stay Focused on the Road
Whenever you are driving it is imperative to be alert, attentive and aware of all of the surroundings. Never drive if you are tired, under the influence of alcohol or any mind-altering substance and drive no more than ten hours in a session.
If you get tired while driving, pull off to a rest-stop for a nap or stop and grab some coffee. In the short-term, caffeine can increase alertness but should not be relied on for energy over long-term periods of time.