Sharing the Road with a Semi Truck

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Semi-trucks have wide turning radiuses, slow stopping times, and large blind spots — something many passenger vehicle drivers don’t understand. To reduce the risk of an accident involving a semi truck, drivers should implement the following safe driving habits.

Drive Defensively

Even if you’ve been a driver for many years, it’s important to remain on high alert when you’re driving around large trucks, no matter how comfortable or experienced you may be. Semi trucks are bigger and heavier, making it difficult for them to slow down, change langes, and avoid collisions. Keep an eye out for truck locations, traffic flow, signals, and weather so you can anticipate changes and have plenty of time to react.

Keep a Safe Distance

If you’re driving close behind, in front of, or beside a large truck, you’re at greater risk of being hurt by sudden stops, blown out tires, or rollovers caused by strong winds. Maintain a four-second following distance between you and the trailer to give you enough time for merging, swerving, and lane changes and to reduce the risk of a collision in case of a sudden stop.


Stay Out of Blind Spots

A commercial motor vehicle’s blind spots are on the right side, directly in front, behind the trailer, and a few zones along the driver’s side. Avoid driving for long in these zones and pass through them quickly.

Pass Quickly

Passenger vehicles can drive faster than semi trucks without fear of being unable to stop quickly or make a lane change. When passing a semi truck, drive closer to the shoulder, rather than the truck, and speed up instead of slowing down.

Don’t Cut Off Semis When Merging

It takes more effort to change lanes near a truck, than near a passenger vehicle. Semis can take up to two football fields to stop when traveling 65 mph. Before merging in front of a truck, make sure you can see the entire front in your rearview mirror to avoid a rear-end collision.


Dim The Bright Lights

If you’re driving near or past a semi truck, dim your bright headlights. When driving at 55 mph, bright passenger vehicle headlights reflect off large truck mirrors and cause temporary blindness. A good rule of thumb is to reduce headlights if you’re within one block of a semi.

Always Signal

Signal for at least three seconds before stopping, turning, or merging lanes. Semi trucks need this extra time to react to upcoming changes, either to slow down or move over.

Safe driving habits are key to avoiding a collision with a semi truck. Properly sharing the road with large trucks will help save countless lives.

Take precautions to prevent an accident, and avoid the long process of receiving medical care and filing a personal injury lawsuit.