How to Drive Safely Around Large Trucks

The number one tip for driving safely around large trucks and avoiding truck accidents is to give large vehicles plenty of space. Large trucks have huge blind spots on all 4 sides, so if you drive too close to them, drivers may be unable to see you. A truck’s largest blind spot is on its right side, so avoid driving on the right side of large trucks whenever possible, and if you need to pass, always do so on the left.

If you can’t see a driver in their side mirror, assume the driver cannot see you.

Pass Large Trucks Safely

Pass large trucks safely and do not cut them off. Signal clearly, move into the left lane, and accelerate, so you can pass the truck as quickly and safely as possible. Make sure you can see the entire truck in your rearview mirror (NOT the side mirrors) before you pull in front of it and give them extra space.

Do not try to pass large trucks on downgrades or from the right side.

Keep in mind, large trucks take longer to stop, so if you cut it too close, the driver may be unable to avoid an accident. Worse still, you could wind up in the driver’s blind spot, which could cause the truck to run you over.

Do Not Crowd or Tailgate

If a large truck needs to pass you, stay to the right and slow down. Do not speed up or try to keep the truck in its lane. Instead, give the driver extra room to change lanes or merge. Whenever you can, move to the left to get away from large trucks and give them space. This keeps you out of their blind spots and can even protect you if the driver is careless or loses control of their vehicle.

Being directly behind a large truck can be just as dangerous as driving to the right or left of it or cutting in front of the vehicle. Trucks have blind spots behind them, so tailgating a large truck makes you invisible to the driver.

Additionally, you may not have time to stop if the truck driver detects a hazard and hits their brakes. If another driver rear-ends you, you could also be pushed underneath the truck. If you’re behind a truck, pass safely on the left or stay back. Never crowd a truck when it is stopped or going uphill, as the truck may roll back slightly. Once again, the safest tactic is to give large trucks plenty of room.

Watch Out for Turns

When trucks turn, they need more space than passenger vehicles. Expect truck drivers to swing wide before turns or turn from a middle lane.

Do not try to pass a truck before it turns. Instead, wait until the vehicle completes its turn and continue on your way.

Never get between a turning vehicle and the curb. If you are in the right lane and a truck is turning, from the middle lane slow down to get out of the truck’s blind spot and honk your horn to let the driver know you are there.

At intersections, stop behind the line, so you don’t “block the box” and prevent truck drivers from moving safely.

In general, if a truck is turning, give them the entire intersection to complete the maneuver. Remember that the truck will be out of your path when the driver is finished when their turn.

Be Patient

No one likes driving around large trucks, but everyone likes having goods in grocery stores and quick deliveries. Be mindful that truck drivers are just doing their jobs and be patient and kind. You should also be aware that trucks and other large vehicles need more time to accelerate and may have their speed limited by the tech in their trucks.

Do not honk, drive aggressively, or weave in and out of traffic. Doing so can distract the truck driver and cause crashes – and it makes you more likely to collide with other vehicles on the road.

Stay Focused, Sober, and Alert

Whenever you are on the road, you should keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on the task of driving. Do not text and drive, use your mobile phone, or let any other distractions affect you on the road.

If you need to address something, wait until it is safe and pull over.

Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and do not get behind the wheel if you are too tired to drive. Take regular breaks on long drives, and if you start feeling drowsy while driving, switch drivers or find a safe place to rest.

These tips will not only keep you from causing an accident with large trucks but also avoid collisions with other vehicles on the road.

Buckle Up

No matter how safely you drive, you cannot control another driver’s behavior. Buckling your seatbelt and keeping children in the back seat with age-appropriate car seats are your best defenses in any kind of accident.

If a drunk or distracted truck driver hits you, your seatbelt could save your life, so always buckle up.

Bonus: Know Who to Call

Sometimes, the worst happens. After a truck accident, you should not have to face the consequences alone. Instead, call Busch, Reed, Jones & Leeper, P.C. to discuss your rights and legal options. Our experienced local attorneys have in-depth knowledge of truck accident cases and more than 150 years of combined professional experience.

We can help you recover the resources you need to move forward.

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