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How to safely share the road with semi-trucks

For many commuters, driving alongside a big rig on the road is a daily occurrence; but that doesn’t make it any less intimidating. After all, the average two-ton car is no match for a fully loaded semi weighing in at 40 tons.

But while it usually takes two drivers to make an accident, drivers in passenger cars cause a whopping 75% of commercial vehicle accidents. What’s more, is while semi-trucks only make up 4% of vehicles on the road, they are also involved in roughly 1 in 10 highway fatalities.

All drivers have a responsibility to share the road safely, but few motorists understand the limitations and challenges truckers face while driving. The next time you find yourself sharing a road with a semi, following these tips will ensure you’re doing your part to stay safe:

Don’t linger in blind spots

Most passenger vehicles have a few blind spots, but semi-trucks have them on all four sides. The right side of the semi has the most significant blind spot for the driver – sometimes concealing as many as three or lanes from their view. Don’t linger too long in these blind spots and pass quickly to ensure the trucker sees you.

Don’t cut off a semi

Semi-trucks have much longer stopping distances due to their weight and size. A truck driving 65 mph in ideal conditions requires the length of two football fields to come to a complete stop. Before merging in front of a truck, be sure that you can see the entire front end of the commercial vehicle in your review mirror to avoid a rear-end collision.

Anticipate wide turns

Unlike smaller vehicles, semis require extra space to complete a turn safely. They may start a turn from a middle lane or swing wide to accommodate their trailer. Don’t try to pass between a turning truck and the curb or block the intersection so the truck can turn safely.

Always be alert

Ultimately, your best defense against any accidents on the road is staying focused on driving – particularly when near large trucks. Pay attention to traffic, weather conditions and vehicle signals so that you have plenty of time to react if you need to.

Sharing the road with large trucks is different than sharing the road with cars. However, by applying extra precautions when a semi is near, you can help to keep the streets safer for everyone.

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