Trucks play a key role in America’s economy and livelihood, helping to support 80% of the nation’s communities and being responsible for hauling countless tons of important freight from one place to another. At the same time, trucks are also some of the biggest, heaviest, and most dangerous vehicles on US roads.
They’re vast in size and very difficult to control, with slow stopping times and lots of blind spots, which is why being a truck driver is actually a greatly challenging job and one of the most dangerous jobs in America today.
This is also why other road users need to be aware of the risks they can face when driving behind, in front of, or alongside a truck. Accidents involving these huge and heavy vehicles can be catastrophic, but there are ways you can reduce the risk of any crashes or collisions occurring. Here are some top tips to help you drive more safely in the presence of trucks.
1. Keep Distractions to a Minimum
Distractions are one of the biggest issues on today’s roads and one of the major causes of truck accidents too; too many drivers allow themselves to lose focus or concentration, worrying more about sending a text, checking their phone, or fiddling around with the in-car entertainment devices than keeping their eyes on the road.
Don’t make these same mistakes, especially when you’re out on the highway and trucks are in the area. As stated above, trucks have slow stopping times and lots of blind spots, and if you’re not even paying attention to the road around you, it will be that much harder for any trucker to notice your vehicle and take the necessary action to prevent any issues.
2. Keep Your Distance
One of the most significant tips when driving near trucks is to absolutely keep your distance at all times. This applies when passing a truck, when driving behind a truck, and when driving in front of a truck as well, and it’s all centered around the fact that, as mentioned earlier on, trucks have so many blind spots.
Truck drivers can’t see areas directly in front of their vehicles, behind their vehicles, and in certain areas along the sides of their vehicles too. So if you get too close, you could end up in one of these many blind spots, and the truck driver might make a turn or change lanes right into your car because they simply didn’t see you.
3. Keep Your Car Visible
Following on from the previous point, as well as keeping your distance from a truck while driving near it, it’s also recommended by the experts to try and make yourself as visible as possible, at all times. This will help everyone stay safe in the long run because as long as the truck driver can see you, there’s a much lower chance of any accidents occurring.
There will be times when you might have to enter one of the many truck blind spots. For example, if you’re passing a truck, you might get into a blind spot at some point, but it’s important to carry out the process in an efficient way in order to spend the minimum amount of time possible in that spot. When driving in dark or dimly lit conditions, too, you should use your lights to be as visible as possible.
4. Never Pass on the Right
One of the main places where you’ll usually encounter trucks is on the highway, and since trucks tend to have slower driving speeds than cars and other vehicles, you’ll probably want to get past them in order to continue on your journey and arrive at your destinations on time.
Indeed, the average highway journey can involve many situations where a driver wants to pass a truck. Always make sure that you pass on the left. Passing on the right is not only against the law, but it’s also exceptionally dangerous in regard to trucks, as they have even more blind spots on the right side when compared to the left.
Truck accidents can be some of the most devastating and damaging, both to vehicles and the people inside them, and it’s not worth running the risk of ending up in an accident of this kind. You have to do whatever you can to stay safe and protect yourself and your passengers, and these tips should help you get a better approach when it comes to navigating around trucks on the open road.