How to Drive Safely Around Large Trucks

Barely touched upon in drivers education courses, driving around large trucks or 18-wheelers can provide drivers with unique challenges and severe consequences. Given their limited visibility and difficulty maneuvering, it is unsurprising that 72 percent of all trucking accidents involving 18-wheelers are their own fault. 

Regardless, there are still several tips that drivers can use to avoid being injured in an accident with a large truck, according to Drive Safely.

  1. Keep Your Distance. Large trucks have blindspots all around their vehicle, the drivers are often fatigued from being on the road, and because of their vehicle’s size their big rigs lack the ability to delicately maneuver away from accidents. For all these reasons, drivers should keep a large distance between their vehicle and any other large trucks on the road.
  2. Know that Tire Blowouts are Common. Not only does an 18-wheeler have 14 more opportunities for a tire blowout than a regular passenger vehicle, the heavy load carried by these trucks makes them even more prone to a blowout. When a blowout does occur, the truck may have difficulty staying in its lane and may need to quickly cross several lanes of traffic so it can safely park on the side of the road.
  3. Pass on the Left Side. While it’s always proper etiquette to pass a driver using the left lane, not following this advice for a large truck can be very dangerous. This is because trucks have massive blind spots on the right side of the vehicle that do not exist on their left side. Because drivers are less likely to pass on the right in the first place, an unexpected right side pass through a large blind spot creates a very dangerous situation for both passenger vehicles and big rig trucks.
  4. Give Trucks Space to Make Wide Turns. Roads are not always constructed with enough space for a truck to make a right or left-hand turn. Consequently, these trucks will often veer into other lanes as they make their wide turn. To avoid being hit by an 18-wheeler, it is best to be aware of the trucks movement and try to accommodate when possible. If it is not possible, the driver of the passenger vehicle should honk or otherwise alert the truck driver to avoid a collision.

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