Most drivers would do just about anything to avoid a motor vehicle collision, including taking evasive maneuvers that could put them at risk of a different crash. Few types of collisions are more dangerous and potentially deadly than wrecks that occur between passenger vehicles and large commercial semi-trucks. An 18-wheeler can make a vehicle completely unsafe to drive and can cause life-changing if not fatal injuries.
You obviously have no control over what commercial drivers do with the wheel, but you can make small changes to your own driving habits when you have to share the road with a big truck. The two driving habits below could significantly reduce your risk of a wreck with a commercial truck.
Respect their blind spots
Commercial trucks are so long, tall and wide that it is impossible for the driver to see completely around the vehicle. They depend on a combination of mirrors and other drivers making the choice to avoid their blind spots.
Typically, driving directly behind a commercial truck’s trailer means the driver can’t see you. Driving in the lane directly to the left of the trailer or in the two lanes to the right of the trailer could also cause visibility issues and lead to a preventable collision. Unless you are stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic, avoiding those areas directly next to and behind a commercial truck helps ensure the driver can see you.
Understand their stopping limitations
Given that they are so heavy, it takes a longer distance for a commercial truck to come to a full stop than it would take a car or van traveling at the same speed. That extra stopping distance can be a big safety concern if you merge in front of a commercial vehicle.
You typically want to leave twice the amount of space between your back bumper and the front of a commercial truck than you would when merging in front of a smaller vehicle. Ensuring that you are traveling at the same speed as the truck or a little bit faster will also help protect you from a potentially fatal rear-override collision with a commercial vehicle.
Adjusting your own driving habits a little bit can help you minimize the possibility of a commercial truck collision that may have devastating consequences.