The average truck driver (over the road) is expected to cover 125,000 miles a year, which breaks down to 2,500 miles a week and equates to 500 miles a day. That is a lot of time spent on the road.
To help make a truck drivers job easier, follow these guidelines for sharing the road with semi tractor trailers. This benefits not only the truck driver, but your safety as well.
1. Avoid Blind Spots
Due to the size of the tractor trailer there are four blind spots. They are directly behind the truck, both sides of the truck (a large one beside the truck’s right door and a smaller on the left side) and one directly the front of the truck. A general rule of thumb is to be able to see one of the truck drivers mirrors, if you can see him, then he can see you. Leave space when following a truck and give space when in front of the truck.
Despite how safe trucks and truck drivers are, 1/3 fatal crashes happen between cars and large trucks in their blind spots. Know where the blind spots are and avoid them.
2. Pass on the left
Due to the large blind spot on the right side of the truck, the truck driver will not be able to see you when passing on that side, so pass on the left.
3. Don’t tailgate!
Follow trucks at least four seconds behind to avoid these dangerous scenarios, such as tire blowout, high wind and a truck braking suddenly.
4. Don’t cut trucks off
Be sure to leave plenty of buffer room when you pull in front of a truck. Semi trucks need 300+ feet when driving at 55 mph to stop vs. a car that needs 140 feet when driving the same speed.
5. Allow space between the trailer and the curb
Truck drivers sometimes move away from the curb and swing a wide right to turn. This is a blind spot for the driver, so don’t get caught between the truck and the curb.
6. Patience is a Virtue
Due to the weight of the load, a truck might not be going the speed that you may want it, so be patient. Avoid making erratic moves. When a truck is passing another one on the highway, wait for the truck to get back into the right lane. Never try to go around a truck that is backing up.
7. Lower Your Brights
Your bright headlight setting causes reflections off of the large side mirrors of trucks that can blind the driver. Dim your lights when coming within one block of an oncoming vehicle.
8. Signal sooner
Because of the amount of stoppage time a truck needs, it is best to signal early when changing lanes, stopping or turning. Generally try to signal at least three seconds before making your move.
9. Merge with Care
Avoid merging in front of a truck when traffic ahead may be coming to a stop or slowing down.