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What are some tips for sharing the road with 18-wheelers?

On Behalf of | Oct 9, 2023 | Truck Accidents |

Driving alongside massive 18-wheelers can be an intimidating experience, but mastering the art of sharing the road with these giant vehicles is important for ensuring safety for all. They play a huge role in transporting goods across the country.

Whether you are a seasoned driver or a novice, here are some tips to help you navigate the highways harmoniously with these massive trucks.

Understand blind spots

When sharing the road with 18-wheelers, it is important to comprehend the vast blind spots these vehicles possess. Often referred to as no-zones, these blind spots exist on the sides and rear of the truck.

Maintain a safe distance, ensuring you are visible to the truck driver. If you cannot see their mirrors, they likely cannot see you.

Avoid tailgating

Tailgating is a recipe for disaster, especially when trailing behind an 18-wheeler. These massive trucks require significantly more stopping distance than regular vehicles.

A general rule of thumb is to leave at least one car length for every 10 miles per hour you are traveling. This gives both you and the truck driver ample time to react to sudden changes in traffic.

Passing with precision

When passing an 18-wheeler, exercise caution and precision. Accelerate smoothly, maintaining a consistent speed to complete the pass efficiently.

Avoid lingering in the truck’s blind spots, and always pass on the left side whenever possible. Signal your intention to pass well in advance, and once you have overtaken the truck, provide enough space before merging back into its lane.

Be mindful of turns

Turning maneuvers for 18-wheelers are complex due to their extended length. When a truck signals for a turn, exercise patience and avoid trying to squeeze through on the side.

Considering trucks are 20 to 30 times heavier than most cars, you should give these giants the room they need to execute the turn safely. Attempting to cut in could result in a collision or force the truck into a more precarious situation.

Anticipate wide turns

Recognize that 18-wheelers need additional space to make wide turns. If you find yourself beside a turning truck, yield the right of way and allow ample space for the maneuver. This simple courtesy can prevent accidents and ensure a smoother flow of traffic.

Maintain consistent speeds

Erratic driving around 18-wheelers can be dangerous. Maintain a consistent speed and avoid unnecessary lane changes. Predictable behavior allows truck drivers to anticipate your movements, reducing the risk of accidents.

A crash with a giant truck may shake up and scare drivers. By understanding 18-wheelers’ limitations and adhering to these tips, drivers can contribute to a safer and more harmonious driving environment for everyone.