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Guidelines to follow when sharing the road with large trucks

Your nervousness when driving anywhere near a large truck has not subsided since the day you received your driver’s permit. Those giant-sized machines that weigh several tons and carry cargo from destination to destination intimidate you. You fear getting into a collision with one, knowing that the odds of your survival are not good.

Still, there are adjustments you can make to co-exist with these monstrous vehicles. Take a deep breath, do your best to stay calm and especially focus on defensive driving and common-sense rules to assure that you and your passengers are guaranteed a safe road trip. It is not that difficult.

Understand blind spots, do not tailgate

When sharing the road with big-rig trucks, it is important to follow specific traffic safety rules. After all, that 18-wheeler is not any ordinary vehicle. Here are some key guidelines to which to adhere to:

  • A truck driver has blind spots, so be aware of them. Also called “no-zones,” these blind spots are in the front, back and sides of a large truck. Do not drive in these areas. Do not tailgate. Do not swerve in front of a truck, and do not drive directly beside a large truck on the road. If the truck driver does not observe you, he or she may collide with your car.
  • Safe passing remains important. Use your turn signal to note your intention to move into the next lane. After doing so, quickly pass the large truck. Do not linger or drive alongside the truck for lengthy periods. A swift pass means you are only momentarily in the trucker’s blind spot.
  • As a large truck changes lanes in front of you, provide it with a significant amount of space ahead of you.
  • Do not abruptly swerve in front of a large truck. The truck driver may have to hit the brakes to avoid a collision with you and may not be able to stop the vehicle in time to avoid a collision.
  • Do not tailgate. Not only are you now in the truck driver’s blind spot, but you also put yourself in harm’s way if the large truck suddenly stops. You may find yourself in a horrific underride collision.
  • Large trucks make wide turns, so be alert. In order to make a right turn, large trucks must swing to the left briefly before completing the turn. Attempting to go around a truck making such a maneuver may prove dangerous.

Millions of large trucks are on U.S. roads. For the most part, drivers are used to them. However, please abide by certain safety measures when sharing the road with them.