We’ve all got to share the road! Big trucks and tractor trailers need lots of space, and it’s best we all learn how to drive safely around them. After all, they play a huge part in moving our economy forward by getting the products we love to the isles of our favorite stores.
According to the United States Department of Transportation, more than 500,000 truck accidents occur every year, and only 16% are the truck driver’s fault. Nearly 98% of the time, the drivers of the other vehicle are killed in a truck accident.
We can all learn how to safely share the road. Here are seven tips to keep in mind as you travel.
1. Give big trucks plenty of space!
Have you ever noticed how big trucks leave a fair amount of space between them and the car in front of them while in congested traffic? The space is there to ensure they can coast at a reasonable speed and not have to slam on their breaks when traffic slows down. You are putting yourself at risk when you slide into that gap. The truck driver may not have enough space to stop and a collision may occur.
2. When they put their signal on, they need to move quickly.
If you see a big rig’s turn signal turn on, make room and fast! It generally means, “Hey, I HAVE to move over.” Maneuvering a massive truck and all the weight they carry is a big job, and the turn signal might mean that there’s a stopped car in the lane ahead, construction, or heavy traffic. It’s best to be kind and either speed up or slow down to let them over.
3. Do not pass on the right.
Try to avoid passing a big truck on the right. There is probably a good reason why the truck is in the left lane. Is there an accident? Is a cop pulling over a motorist on the right shoulder? Is there construction? On city streets, the truck might be gearing up for a right turn. They need more space to turn right, and if you speed up next to him when he initiates his turn, he might not see you. Drive safe and pass on the left if you must.
4. Don’t hang out beside a semi.
Big trucks have big tires! These massive tires can fail and often do. You don’t want to be beside a truck and have a huge piece of rubber and steel fly at your vehicle.
5. You might be invisible.
Truck drivers regularly have to look in eight to ten mirrors in addition to the road ahead to be aware of what’s around them. Just because you can see the rear view mirror of a truck, doesn’t mean he has seen you! Be cautious when approaching a semi, especially in bad weather. His mirrors might be wet and blurry from the elements.
6. Stopping quickly is nearly impossible.
Imagine needing three times the space to stop your car! That’s what a big rig needs to stop effectively. If you need to pull in front of a truck, make sure you are going as fast as the truck and give them space!
7. This is their job. Let them do it!
It’s estimated that over 3.5 million truck drivers transport $671 billion worth of manufactured and retail goods by truck in the U.S. alone. Trucking is a demanding way to make a living and often they are away from family and friends for long periods of time. Let’s let the fine men and women in this profession know that we appreciate them!
We all have jobs to do, including those who drive big rigs. Let’s do our part to give them the space and consideration they need to get from point A to point B. It might just prevent a deadly collision.