When it comes to deadly accidents on the road, there is perhaps nothing more catastrophic than when a car and semi-truck collide. Semi-trucks can weigh up to 20 to 30 times as a car and face limited maneuverability on the road.
Unfortunately, most fatalities in large truck accidents are passenger vehicle occupants. When sharing the road with a large commercial truck, here are a few essential tips for keeping yourself safe:
Allow yourself enough time to pass
Did you know that it takes about 30 seconds to pass a truck safely when traveling at highway speeds? When you do pass a commercial truck on the road, you’ll want to be sure you do so as quickly as possible as not to linger too long in the trucker’s blind spots. If you need to change lanes, make sure you can see the semi’s grill and headlights in your review mirror before you move over.
Be aware of the truck’s “no-zones”
While many passenger vehicles can have one or two blind spots, every large truck has four blind spots, known as “no-zones,” on the vehicle’s front, back, and sides. These blind spots are much larger than anything you would experience in your own car – the rear blind spot on a truck can extend up to 200 feet. Remember, don’t linger too long in these spots if you can avoid it.
Maintain a safe following distance
It’s a good idea not to follow too closely behind any vehicle on the road, but it’s especially true of large trucks. Maintaining a distance of at least four seconds can help ensure you have time to respond in the event of an emergency as well as keep you out of the trucker’s rear blind spot. Pick a stationary object on the road and count the seconds it takes for you to reach it after the truck passes it. If it takes less than four seconds, you’re following too close.
Be mindful at intersections
If you’re stuck behind a truck at an intersection signaling to make a right turn, you might think you can go around them to save some time. However, this isn’t a good idea. Massive trucks make very wide right turns, and sometimes it can appear as if they are turning left instead of right. When you combine this with the truck’s blind spots, passing a truck at an intersection is incredibly risky.
Remember, sharing the road with large trucks requires special precautions for avoiding accidents. By following these tips, you can avoid a deadly encounter with a semi-truck.