When you encounter a truck on a highway or a city thoroughfare, you must approach it with care. While trucks move slower than most passenger vehicles, they also take longer to stop. Trucks’ large turning radii and multiple blind spots can further imperil drivers if they are not paying attention. Yet, there are ways you can stay safe when driving near trucks.
Know where trucks’ blind spots are
Trucks have four major blind spots that diminish their drivers’ ability to see other motorists. These spots are:
- 30 feet behind the truck
- 20 feet in front of the truck
- One lane to the left of the truck
- Two lanes to the right of the truck
To protect yourself when driving near trucks, you will want to stay out of these spots. If you are passing a truck, you will want to move past them as fast as possible.
Watch out for wide turns
Trucks have a larger turning radius than passenger vehicles do. As a result, they track wider when making turns and will sometimes begin them from the middle lane of a road. To avoid a collision with a turning truck, you must stay behind the line when stopping at an intersection. Doing so will give the truck enough room to complete its turn. You will also want to avoid squeezing by a truck if you see its turn signal on.
Pass with care
Passing a truck is more complex than it sounds. You may think it is fine to complete your pass in the right lane. Yet, it is far safer to overtake a truck on the left, due to the location of its blind spots. You must also make sure you pass the truck on an upgrade or flat stretch of road, since it can pick up speed on a downgrade.
Before passing a truck, you will want to make sure you can see its driver in their side mirror. Once you spot them, you must accelerate and move past the truck quickly. After completing your pass, you must wait to move over until you see the truck in your rear-view mirror. Moving over soon could lead you to cut off the truck. Trucks take longer to stop than passenger vehicles do, and you could cause a collision if the driver brakes suddenly.