Sharing the road with trucks can be intimidating. Considering the destruction they can cause in a serious truck accident, it’s important to know how to safely drive around them. Below are several important defensive driving safety tips for when you find yourself driving near large trucks.
Don’t Drive in a Truck’s Blind Spots
These are located on the sides and behind the truck. The easiest way to know if you’re in a truck’s blind spot is to look for the side mirrors. When you can’t see them, it means the driver can’t see your vehicle.
At the same time, don’t assume that just because you can see the mirrors, the driver will always see you. This is especially true when the conditions are rainy or snowy. Therefore, it’s best not to drive behind or beside a truck for longer than necessary.
Allow Enough Space When Changing Lanes
If changing lanes in front of a truck, make sure there’s enough space to safely do so. Cutting a truck off is extremely dangerous, as it takes trucks much longer to slow down or stop. This is especially true when the roads are slippery or the truck is carrying a heavy load.
Make sure your turn signal is on and before moving over, look in the rearview mirror to make sure you have plenty of room. The standard is to wait until you see both of the truck’s headlights in your rearview mirror before changing lanes back into the truck’s lane. Maintain your speed after passing. Don’t suddenly slow down, forcing the truck to brake.
Make Room When a Truck’s Turn Signal is On
Once you observe the truck’s turn signal, be prepared to give the truck room to change lanes. Don’t remain alongside the truck, as your vehicle could end up in the driver’s blind spot and the driver may change lanes without realizing you’re there. In other words, give the truck plenty of room to move over.
Be Aware When Passing on the Right
In general, it’s best not to pass a truck on the right. When it’s a two-lane highway and the truck is in the left lane, it can sometimes be frustrating to motorists. But the trucker may have a good reason for being in that lane. When it’s a multi-lane highway, it’s still safer to pass on the left.
Another reason not to pass on the right is that sometimes a truck may slightly drift to the center or left lane because the driver needs enough space to make a right turn, as trucks’ right turns are much wider than a typical passenger vehicle. If you attempt to squeeze past, the driver may not see your vehicle as he/she is making the turn.
Beware of Windy Conditions
When the conditions are windy, the trailer on a truck can sway or swerve, especially if it’s carrying a light load. So if the wind gusts are high, maintain a safe distance and avoid driving alongside a truck.
Driving too close behind a vehicle is dangerous under any circumstances. But it’s even more so behind one you can’t see around; not to mention the truck driver can’t see you riding so close behind the trailer. Even a low impact rear-end collision with a truck can cause serious or fatal injuries. So make sure you follow with enough distance to stop if you have to and to allow the trucker to see your vehicle. Increase the distance if the conditions are poor.
In the unfortunate event you’re in an accident that a trucker causes despite your best defensive driving efforts, talk to an attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates. You can call 800-550-0000 or fill out our contact form to schedule your consultation.