Millions of people will likely head out on road trips this summer. And this will mean millions of drivers will be sharing the roads with commercial trucks. While most of these encounters will be harmless, too many will end with catastrophic injuries after a trucking crash.
If you are planning a road trip, consider the following tips.
Tip: Know and avoid blind spots
Trucks have large blind spots. If you drive in these areas, you can be at risk of getting hit if the trucker stops, speeds up or changes lanes. Try not to linger in the following spaces around a truck:
- Immediately in front of it
- On the left side of the truck, under the cab mirror
- In the two lanes on the right side of the truck
- Closer than 30 feet behind the truck
A good general rule is that if you cannot see the truck’s cab mirrors, the trucker cannot see you. Stay out of these spaces as much as possible.
Tip: Give trucks space
Driving too closely to trucks can put you at risk because of the large blind spots as well as the difficulty in operating them.
Commercial trucks take much longer to stop and speed up than passenger vehicles. And even small movements of the vehicle can trigger overcorrections or loss of traction, leading to situations like jackknifing or toppling over.
Giving trucks plenty of space can ensure you are out of the way if any of these situations occur.
Tip: Keep an eye out for signs of impairment
Truckers spend more time on the road than an average driver, and even slight misjudgments can have devastating outcomes, considering the size of their trucks.
As such, pay attention to signs that a trucker is tired, drunk or otherwise impaired, including:
- Looking down rather than at the road
- Erratic speeds or lane changes
- Failure to have lights on
Keeping an eye out for these can help you avoid a potentially reckless truck driver.
Tip: Watch the weather
Regardless of how comfortable you are with driving in less-than-ideal weather conditions, they can affect large commercial vehicles in ways that lead to crashes.
Being especially alert around trucks in windy or rainy weather can be crucial.
These tips could make the difference between ending your road trip at your destination or in the hospital.