No vehicles out on the road are more frightening than commercial trucks. From the loud horns that they use to their imposing size, they could intimidate even the most confident driver. When you consider how they also cause some of the most catastrophic collisions every year, commercial vehicles are downright scary.
Thankfully, the people who drive them have additional education about controlling those dangerous vehicles and also get held to a higher legal standard than other drivers. There are certain things that you can do that could reduce your risk of getting into a crash if you have to drive close to a commercial truck.
Avoid blind spots and exit them as quickly as possible
A truck driver generally cannot see directly to the left of their trailer or behind their trailer. They also have blind spots that extend over two lanes to the right-hand side of their trailer. Knowing these blind spots is important so that if you enter them due to the flow of traffic, you can quickly and safely exit them.
If you have to pass a truck, pass it on the left
Commercial trucks are often subject to a lower speed limit than smaller vehicles. If you need to get around a truck, it is very important that you pass it on the left because of the more extensive blind spots on the right.
Leave lots of space and drive quickly when merging in front of a truck
It takes longer for a commercial truck to speed up or slow down because of its weight. Their momentum is a real collision risk factor. Someone who merges too close to the front of a truck or who doesn’t leave enough space between their rear bumper and the front of the truck may set themselves up for a rear-end collision.
Make a point of mentally tracking the big truck
While driving in close proximity to a big vehicle on the road, you don’t want to distract yourself in any way. You shouldn’t reach for the radio control buttons or answer an incoming call. You need to keep a focus on the vehicle near you so that you can respond quickly if the driver loses control or maneuvers in a way that indicates they don’t see you.
Be mindful of your lights and the use of your turn signals
Having your brights on instead of your standard headlight could cause glare that affects the vision of a commercial driver near you. All of their extra mirrors make it easier for them to catch your life at an unfortunate angle. Additionally, if you intend to turn or merge near a commercial truck, make a point of giving more notice with your turn signals than you usually would so the truck driver has an opportunity to respond to your intentions.
Understanding the ways you can limit your risk could help you avoid a crash with a commercial truck.