It’s always important to drive with care, but it can be especially important when driving around 18-wheelers. Each year there are almost 500,000 crashes involving large trucks reported in the United States.
Luckily, there are precautions drivers like you can take to reduce their chances of being involved in an accident.
1) Avoid an 18-wheeler’s blind spots: All large trucks have blind spots in which they cannot see other vehicles that are driving beside, behind or even a short distance in front of them. If you need to pass a truck, ensure that you go around them quickly and do not drive next to them for an extended period. If traveling in front or behind an 18-wheeler, ensure that you have left enough distance between your car and the truck so that you are not driving in their blind spot. Generally, this means you need to be at least 20 feet in front of the truck or 30 feet behind.
2) Don’t get distracted: It’s normal to adjust your radio, turn on the air conditioning or take a sip of coffee while driving, but when you’re near an 18-wheeler it’s best to avoid anything that takes your attention off the road. You may have to react quickly if a truck is trying to change lanes or turn and doesn’t notice your car. It’s also best to avoid sudden stops, which can happen if you don’t have your full attention on the road, when in front of a truck because they take longer to stop than a car.
3) Give them space to turn: Personal cars and trucks don’t need a lot of space to turn, but the same can’t be said for 18-wheelers. Cabs often pull far out into traffic so that their trailer can properly turn. Combined with the fact that they have blind spots and slow braking time, it can be a big problem for nearby drivers if they aren’t prepared to give the truck room. When coming to an intersection with a truck that is turning remember to leave enough space for them to turn and proceed with caution if following them.