Commercial heavy trucks are a vital part of our national supply chain. The risk of accidents increases with these vehicles due to their larger blind spots, inability to maneuver as easily, and longer stopping times relative to passenger vehicles. Here are some helpful tips for all drivers to use when encountering a big rig on the road. 

1. Avoid Blind Spots

Obviously, large vehicles have much larger blind spots than traditional passenger vehicles. For a traditional semi-truck, there are blind spots one lane wide on the driver’s side that extends back to about half the length of the trailer, two lanes wide on the right side, extending back slightly behind the trailer, one blind spot 20 feet in front of the truck, and one 30 feet behind the truck. 

You should always avoid driving in anyone’s blind spot. Try to maneuver your vehicle so that the driver can see you in their mirrors. Speaking of mirrors, commercial trucks have significantly larger mirrors than passenger vehicles that are more affected by bright headlights. When driving behind a semi, make sure that you’re using your vehicle’s low-beam setting to avoid blinding the driver. 

2. Pass Safely

Careful passing is even more important around a commercial truck. The larger, heavier vehicle does not have the ability to stop as quickly as a personal vehicle. Truck drivers need to react quickly to adjust their speed and brakes accordingly. You should take care to pass these trucks on the left side because it is much easier for the driver to see you. Make sure you continue at a constant speed, signal clearly and in advance of your merge. Before merging back into the lane in front of the truck, make sure you can see it fully in your rearview to allow for a safe distance. 

3. Keep your distance 

It’s a common rule of thumb to allow a driving distance of at least 4 seconds between your vehicle and a commercial truck. If you’re tailgating a big rig, there’s no way the driver can see you. If you’re unable to stop in time or are rear-ended, your vehicle may wind up under the trailer. These collisions tend to be disastrous. 

4. Be Mindful of Wide Turns

Semis take much more room to execute turns than passenger vehicles, the cab and trailer both follow separate paths as well. It may be necessary for a truck driver to swing left to gain room for a right turn. You should never attempt to pass a truck that has a turn signal on, or drive between the truck and the curb. 

Call Massey Towing & Truck Service for Assistance

Not only do trucking accidents tend to be more severe than passenger vehicle accidents, but they are also often more complicated as well. If you’re a North Texas driver and in need of heavy hauling or towing, Massey Towing and Truck service can effectively transport your vehicle and service it so that it’s ready to hit the road, as soon and safely as possible. We are based in Dallas, but are able to help anyone in the North Texas area.