Commercial trucks and big rigs are the largest vehicles on roads and highways – some weighing in at up to 80,000 pounds. Truck drivers and drivers of passenger vehicles need to take extra precautions in order to maintain safe transit.
Most people feel the most sense of danger when they are traveling next to a large truck, but precautions must be taken when driving behind large trucks as well. If you are traveling behind a large truck and you cannot see the truck's side mirrors, then the driver cannot see you. Getting out of a truck's blind spots as soon as possible is important, especially if you are intending to pass.
The rule of the road is to pass vehicles on the left side while using extreme caution. Always use your turn signals and maintain a safe speed while passing. You will need to accelerate when passing, so keep accelerating until you have passed the truck and can see the truck's headlights in your rearview mirror. Changing lanes too soon or at too slow a speed can result in clipping the front of the big rig.
Due to their large size, commercial trucks make turns at a much wider radius than passenger vehicles. Most large trucks will have a "Caution: Wide Turns" warning on the back. Generally, turning right will cause the truck's trailer to swing left, and vice versa. Pay attention to a truck's turn signals, especially at intersections, and steer clear of any open space the trucker has left for him or herself to safely complete a turn.
Because of their weight and size, it takes trucks much longer to brake and accelerate than most passenger vehicles. Keep this in mind when changing lanes in front of a truck, driving near on-ramps, or braking for any reason.
Large trucks traveling at steep grades are at an increased risk of rolling. If traveling behind a truck, it is a good idea to leave extra room between the two vehicles.
Because it takes large trucks much longer to accelerate than most passenger vehicles, it may be wise to move out of the rightmost lane of the interstate if you see a large truck entering. Give them ample space to merge onto the freeway to avoid a collision.
Some people can be tempted to make dangerous maneuvers in their vehicle in order to bypass slow-moving trucks and big rigs. This is not wise. It is better to choose an inconvenience over something that could potentially cause a collision, so always exercise extreme caution when driving near big rigs.
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