Semi-trucks represent a disproportionate number of fatal accidents in the United States. According to the National Safety Council, four percent of all registered vehicles are large trucks, but nine percent of fatal crashes involve large trucks.
However, you can avoid many of these accidents through safe driving habits. Most semi-truck collisions with passenger vehicles occur because the smaller car did not take the necessary precautions to share the road with large commercial vehicles. Continue reading to learn a few tips for driving near large trucks.
Keep your distance and pass fast
Distance is perhaps the most essential part of driving safely around semi-trucks. If all else fails, you can always put more distance between your car and a large commercial vehicle. At the very least, you should try to keep a four-second following distance. When you must pass, do so quickly and safely on the left side of the truck, and stay closer to the shoulder of the road.
Stay away from blind spots
Large trucks have large blind spots. The most dangerous areas to drive are on the truck’s right side, behind the trailer and directly in front of the engine. If you cannot see the driver’s mirrors, they cannot see you.
Use your signals
You should always signal but using turn signals around semi-trucks is essential. Put plenty of space between you and the truck, and signal clearly before you merge lanes. Semi-trucks require a greater distance to brake, so cutting off a truck might prove fatal.
Semi-truck drivers have professional training to help keep the road safe. You are also responsible for driving defensively and thoughtfully around large commercial vehicles.