Tips for Driving Safely Around Semi-Trucks
Accidents involving semi-trucks are extremely dangerous situations. The average minimum weight of a semi-truck is 80,000 pounds, so driving safely around them is extra important. Here are a few safety tips you should follow when driving near a semi-truck so you can make sure that you and your passengers can stay safe.
Understand the Challenges
Semi-trucks are very heavy. This weight can cause a number of challenges for truck drivers that are not experienced by drivers of smaller vehicles. For one, speeding up and slowing down cannot be accomplished as quickly. A semi-truck may find it difficult to navigate hills and slopes. There will also be times when a load is being carried that prevents the truck driver from keeping up with the pace of other drivers. Finally, be aware that trucks are prone to tipping over, especially during times when high winds are present. Taking the time to understand the challenges faced by truck drivers makes it a little easier to drive safely around them.
Defensive driving is something you should always practice but it is much more important to do so when you are sharing the road with a semi-truck. You should remember to keep your eyes on the road, anticipate maneuvers from other drivers, and make your own intentions plain to all other drivers on the road. When driving near a semi-truck, you should make sure you position yourself where they can see you. These habits are important to remember because 87 percent of large truck crashes involve driver error.
Give Plenty of Space
A lot of the accidents involving semi-trucks happen because another vehicle was driving too close to the truck. Semi-trucks are extremely large and need more room to navigate than other vehicles on the road. This extra space is needed to account for:
- Blowouts: The weight of semi-trucks places a lot of strain on tires. Because of this, semi-trucks experience blowouts more frequently than other vehicles.
- Wide turns: Semi-trucks need a lot of room to make turns through intersections.
- Blind spots: There are blind spots on every side of a semi-truck that make it difficult for them to know where other vehicles are located.
- Braking: Truckers cannot press heavily on brakes in a sudden motion. Do not put a semi-truck driver in a position that necessitates a quick stop.
For these reasons, it’s generally recommended to give truck drivers about 7–8 seconds of following distance so that they have enough time to stop if needed.
Driving around semi-trucks can seem intimidating, but if you know how to keep yourself safe, you have no reason to worry. By incorporating these tips, you can help ensure your safety on the road.
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