During the holidays, many motorists are on the road traveling to and from family gatherings, holiday parties, and other festivities. While most people are enjoying much needed time off from work, semi-truck drivers are working more hours to deliver the products that make the holiday season possible. With this increased trucking activity, motorists need to know how to safely share the road with truckers.
Capital Diesel, a company providing truck repair in Sacramento, is sharing five tips to help people understand the proper way to drive when near a semi-truck or other commercial motor vehicle. According to the Roadway Safety Foundation, “in more than 80% of all accidents involving small vehicles and semi-trucks, the accidents are usually caused by the smaller vehicle.” Passenger car drivers can take the following measures to ensure that both themselves and semi-truck drivers stay safe on the roadway.
1. Stay Alert
When operating a vehicle, the driver must pay attention all the time, especially around a semi-truck or other large vehicle. Semi-trucks are significantly longer and heavier than a passenger car, so their reaction time is much slower. Due to their increased weight, semis need more time and distance to come to a complete stop. If traveling at 65 mph, an 18-wheeler may require up to two football fields to stop. When approaching a large vehicle, a motorist must consider the different abilities of a semi-truck and drive accordingly.
2. Keep Distance
Driving too close to a semi-truck creates the risk of damage or injury from sudden stops, tire blowouts, or rollovers. No matter if the motorist is behind, beside, or in front of the big rig, it is the motorist’s responsibility to leave ample room for the semi to maneuver, merge, swerve, or stop. A best practice is to keep a four-second minimum following distance behind a trailer in case of a sudden stop. To prevent a rear-end collision, drivers should make sure that they can see the entire front end of the semi-truck before they merge in front of it.
3. Beware of Blind Spots
Blind spots create areas that put passenger vehicles at greater risk of an accident since the trucker can not see them. The right side is the largest blind spot for a truck driver, and a driver’s view can be blocked for three or more lanes. Other blind spots are located directly in front of the cab, right behind the trailer, and on the left side. If the motorist can not see the truck driver’s face in the semi’s side mirror, then the motorist is likely in a blind spot. People should also dim their bright headlights when they are nearing or passing an 18-wheeler. Bright lights reflect off truck mirrors and can cause a temporary blind spot for two or more seconds. Lower bright lights when driving one block or closer behind a semi-truck.
4. Pass Quickly and Carefully
To safely pass a semi-truck, drive closer to the shoulder rather than the truck and give the truck ample space. Since the left side of a semi-truck has the smaller blind spot, always pass on the left. Speed up and do not linger in order to minimize time spent in the semi’s blind spot. Before returning to the truck’s lane, motorists should make sure that the entire cab is visible in their rear-view mirror. Avoid putting truck drivers in situations where they must brake suddenly.
5. Signal Sooner
Since semi-trucks require more time to react to motorists’ actions, it is vital to signal the truck driver at least three seconds or more in advance. The goal is to give the trucker adequate timing to slow down or move over.
Capital Diesel provides 24/7 full-service mobile truck repairs for trucks, trailers, and busses. The company operates within a fifty-mile radius of Sacramento.