With approximately six million auto accidents occurring every single year in the US, it’s really important for people to take safe driving seriously. There have been many advancements in terms of car safety features and smart technology to reduce the risk of deadly crashes, but huge numbers of accidents are still happening, and a lot of the responsibility remains on the driver’s shoulders.
It’s vital to follow the rules of the road, to pay attention to signs and street markings, to keep an eye all around you and monitor the actions of other vehicles, to stick to the speed limit, and so on. These pieces of advice are even more important when trucks are in the area, because trucks are some of the biggest and heaviest vehicles around, causing some of the worst accidents of all.
It’s not uncommon to encounter trucks when driving down the highway, and you need to be very careful when it comes to passing by them, changing lanes near them, and keeping yourself and those around you safe at all times. This guide will go over some top tips to help drivers stay as safe as possible when navigating near trucks.
Stay a Safe Distance Away
The first tip is one of the most important of all when it comes to driving near trucks: keep your distance. This applies at all times, and you should keep a safe distance between your car and the truck when driving in front of it, behind it, or beside it as you pass or change lanes. Why? Well, trucks are huge, heavy vehicles, and they need a lot of time and space to maneuver safely. If you don’t provide that space, the risks of an accident can get a lot higher.
Keeping your distance can really be the “make or break” factor in terms of preventing accidents from occurring. It’s also important to note that trucks have a lot of blind spots, and if you get too close behind, in front, or to the side of them, you might find yourself within one of those blind spots. This can be really dangerous, as the truck driver won’t be able to see you and could drive right into you.
Avoid All Distractions
Distracted driving is one of the biggest issues on American roads, and many other roads around the world, and statistics show that more and more drivers are allowing themselves to get distracted by little things or devices in their cars. Everything from a text message on your smartphone to an overly chatty passenger could cause you to be distracted, raising the risk of an accident.
When you get distracted by something, you take your attention away from the road and your general concentration levels start to decline. Drivers need high levels of focus and concentration, so it’s really vital to avoid distractions of all kinds. This means you should turn your phone to silent mode and avoid using it, set up the GPS and radio before you go, and be sure to pull over safely before having snacks or sending messages.
Don’t Pass on the Right Side
It’s very common to encounter trucks on highways and freeways as they make their way across their country from place to place, delivering goods of all shapes and sizes and supporting many of America’s communities in the process. And when you meet a truck on the highway, you may want to get past it in order to get to your own destination sooner.
There’s nothing wrong with trying to get past trucks on the highway or other roads where this is allowed, but you need to do it properly. One of the golden rules when it comes to driving near truck is to always pass on the left side. You should never pass on the right side. This is not only dangerous, but it’s also illegal.
Learn About the Blind Spots
We’ve already spoken briefly about how trucks tend to have a lot of blind spots. These are areas that the truck driver is unable to see, even with the aid of their mirrors and rearview cameras, and it’s a big challenge for truck drivers to try and keep track of all the vehicles around them while also keeping their trucks under control.
A good way to be respectful towards truckers and also keep yourself safe when driving near trucks is to take some time to actually learn about these blind spots, finding out where they are and how you can best avoid them. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to keep yourself safe and avoid accidents of all kinds.
Remain in Sight as Much as Possible
We’ve just spoken about blind spots, but the truth is that you can’t avoid all truck blind spots at all times. There are going to be some situations in which you have to pass through a blind spot to overtake a truck, for example, or you might find yourself in one of those blind spots while changing lanes behind a truck.
The key is to try and minimize the amount of time you spend in these spots and do whatever you need to do to safely remain in sight of the truck driver as much as you can. Don’t spend much time in any blind spots, try to pass trucks quickly and efficiently, and be sure to make use of your car’s lights in dimly-lit conditions to make your vehicle more visible to truckers.
Truck accidents can be some of the most damaging and deadly of all auto accidents, and it’s definitely a good idea to try and avoid them at all costs. It’s always important to drive safely, avoid distractions, and pay attention to the road around you, but it’s even more important to follow these safety tips when trucks are near. Keep all of the tips and tricks of this article in mind the next time you meet a truck on the road and stay safe.