New drivers need a few tips for sharing the road with big trucks. A lot of people have a misunderstanding about the capabilities of the driver and/or the truck.
Drivers ed should include a chapter about how to safely share the road with big trucks. Most people wrongly assume that accidents involving big trucks are caused by the truck driver, the reality is that this is not true.
I will give you some information that I hope will help you to avoid being someone to cause one of those accidents.
When going up a hill behind a truck, if you see the trailer bouncing up and down quickly it is empty. Don't take chances on a 2 lane trying to pass.
Be aware that many trucking companies have their trucks governed so that they max out at 65 mph or 64, 63 and 62 mph. Don't assume that a slow truck means the police are ahead. Please go by promptly, don't linger.
TIP: You can stop being afraid to pass the white trucks with the word Swift on it, the only reason its going 62 or 65mph is because the trucks are governed (computer regulated) not to exceed that speed! It's not because they got word of a smokey (police) up ahead on the CB! Keep it moving!
12 More Tips For Sharing the Road With Big Trucks
Pass by promptly
Avoid blind spots
Leave a cushion
Watch your speed
Pull over off the highway
Pre-trip before you take a road trip
Leave for your destination early
More Details about Sharing the Road Tips
I am happy you have decided to take a look at these tips and advice. It is especially important because in accidents that involve commercial vehicles it is usually the driver of the non commercial vehicle that is at fault.
I know that is not what many would think based on reporting of accidents and general assumption. That is however, the truth. When you think about it, that is how it should be since we are professionals and drive, travel, negotiate traffic for hours a day and 100,000 mile or more every year.
That being said, none of us are perfect. We all need to be aware of our driving habits and work on improving in any way that we can to make traveling on the highways safer and more pleasant. I think the information below will go a long way to make it happen.
Be patient - Do not take risks and pass illegally. You are not going to save that much time. Be prepared for strong winds after clearing the truck when passing, especially out west. Also go a few truck lengths or more beyond the truck before pulling back into the lane in front of the truck. If you have a blow out or if a deer jumps out in front you, it would be nice to have the time to react and not ram into the back of you.
Don't pull out of turns, driveways, etc in front of trucks. It takes a big truck longer distance and more time to slow down or stop than it does cars. Besides you shouldn't assume that any vehicle will simply slow down for you. Suppose the driver is texting?
Other times to be patient is when you see a truck backing up and when a truck about to make a turn.
When backing a truck may not see you in time to stop. Please wait. Especially if he is in the road trying to back into a dock.
When a truck is making a turn and has extra space on either side in the middle of making that turn, please give it just a few seconds to complete the turn. If a truck is not completely in one lane or another, it is for a reason. DO NOT squeeze into the lane beside the truck because when it makes the turn, it may not see you and the trailer may damage your vehicle. We really do appreciate the patience.
Stay alert – It's easy to be distracted with all of the personal gadgets we have now. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of driver error which is the cause of many accidents.
Stay focused It only takes a second of inattention from the road for things to change dramatically. Things as simple as thinking hard about an argument, or death in the family can cause mindlessness as much as texting can cause a distraction. Anything that takes your focus away from the road increases risk of an accident. This includes eating. Be careful.
Driver fatigue is a huge problem on the highway which also keeps you from being alert and promotes poor judgment. Make sure to get the rest you need the night before. If you find yourself nodding, pull over as soon as safely possible and do some jumping jacks or push ups.
Even get some coffee or an energy drink to help you make it to your destination or a better place where you can take a nap. Taking a 20 or 30 minute nap could save your life rather than drive drowsy.
Use your turn signal properly - Prior to actually having to brake to make the turn or switch lanes is when the turn signal is supposed to be activated. It is supposed to indicate your intentions which means notify other people BEFORE hand about what you plan to do.
There is no need to put on a turn signal when you are in the middle of execution. It's obvious then.
Switching lanes - Be extra careful when switching lanes on the highway. You have to look not just to see if the spot is clear but look a lane over for turn signals and look behind to see if someone is speeding up to fill that void.
Be courteous - Proper usage includes city driving when planning to turn. How often have you sat in a driveway on a busy street being courteous waiting on a car to come by.instead of pulling out in front of it. Only to have the driver slow at the last minute with no turn signal and turn into the same drive way that you are trying to pull out of and it causes you to wait forever for another break.
Now imagine if you were driving a truck and that happened over and over.
I know you have been there, yet many of you will do the same thing yourself to other drivers trying to pull out of a turn. Be courteous.
Pass by – don't take so long to pass by a truck because you don't want to speed. You didn't want to be behind so go. You are at high risk riding beside a truck because you could be in his blinds spot or something could happen on the highway that requires abrupt reaction. Suppose the truck driver has to swerve to the left and you are there? Also, a simple blow out of a truck tire could be powerful enough to go through your windshield or damage your car.
Merging - Accelerate on the on ramp to highway speeds before entering the highway. Use the off ramp to do most of your slowing down. Find an open space to merge into. Don't just pull onto the highway and expect traffic to make adjustment for you. Highway traffic has the right of way. (except maybe in California, not sure there)
Pulling Over - If you have to pull over, don't do it on the side of the highway. Pull off on a ramp. It just doesn't waste that much time versus the risk you are taking on the side of the highway. Besides, you will get all kinds of dust and dirt inside of your vehicle when you open the door along side of the highway.
Pre-trip your car - Even before going on a trip but especially if you are about to take a trip. Take a close look under your car as you walk up. Make sure there is no fluid leaks on the ground.
Leaks might indicate a need for work. Determine if it is oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid or water.
Note: Brake fluid and steering fluid may also leak and never make it to the ground. Take a close look under the reservoir for moisture.
Check and top off fluid levels before you take off and if needed see a mechanic about your leaks or smoking vehicle. Especially if you notice the engine heating, decrease in power, or rough idling.
Also take a look at your
brakes, brake lines
fluid lines, belts, spark plug wires and electrical wires
shocks and springs
for abnormalities and excessive wear before heading out on the road.
Check your tires for adequate thread depth, uneven wearing, knots and proper air pressure too.
These problems could cause performance issues or a breakdown which you do not want to occur while out on the road. You can see a lot of money and headache if you spot precursor to problems early.
Leave early - Speed and aggressive driving is one of the common reasons for accidents on the road. The reason for speeding excessively is sometimes just for a thrill. Often times though the speeder is simply trying to make up time or get there faster.
If you plan ahead and leave early enough, you won't have to risk you life and the life of others by driving aggressively and speeding. Besides who needs points on their licenses and higher insurance payments?
Summary of Driver Tips
First and foremost, be patient – take your time
Don't ride beside the truck leisurely – Pass already!
Don't ride in the truck blind spot - Pass by
Don't cut trucks off – leave space
Don't ride on the bumper – increase following distance
Don't drive drowsy – be alert
Don't assume that trucks can stop quickly – be patient
Do an inspection of your car before getting on the road
Always be aware of your surroundings
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If you have an accident with a big truck, it is important to get an attorney that is familiar with taking cases involving commercial vehicles or trucking. There are truck accident attorneys.
However, don't let the truck accident lawyer influence you to fabricate information to better your case.
We are human and have family too!
Fire and Ice
You will see impatient drivers often as a trucker. Get used to it. Just try to stay out of the way of disaster if you can.
SUV VS Big Truck
Truckers often go out of their way to avoid an accident. They wreck their rigs and still get in the accident. Guess who will go under the magnifying glass.
Some are preventable. Some are not. Wind, ice, rain, and absent mindedness. Accidents come in many flavors. Stay on your P's and Q's.
Watch Bridge Signs
Because assuming that the bridge is taller than the sign states. Sometimes this is true but you can't count on that.
Watch Trailer Tandems
Not uncommon for new drivers. Maybe seeing this will help you to stay on alert to watch your tandems when you are making turns.
Several of these small preventable accidents will get you fired and black balled. Especially if they are all short time frames like the same year. So be careful.
Failure To Maintain Control
He got a failure to maintain speed. Guess that was a break. Question is why did he go in. I have seen where drivers do this to avoid hitting a car. Of course he might have feel asleep too. Who knows. At least he wasn't hurt bad.
This was just too funny
Watch out for big trucks if you are a four wheeler. Watch out for four wheelers if you are a truck driver! 10/4!
We all MUST share the road. Might as well try to understand each other's position and smile. We CAN all get along. Safely, I might add.