Truck drivers are well-versed in handling large vehicles but they can’t control the weather, road conditions or other drivers. In many cases, an 18-wheeler accident can be avoided if only other drivers knew how to share the road with these behemoths of the highway, and to respect the potential for damage that will result with a collision with them.
When you need to pass a large commercial truck or 18-wheeler on the highway, you need to observe some protocols that may not be necessary with other types of vehicles to avoid any mishaps. Here are some of them:
- Pass only on a straight stretch of road, and do so quickly. Never pass a truck on a curve. Most heavy trucks carrying cargo have a tendency to shift to another lane unexpectedly, especially in heavy winds. This is physics, not driver negligence.
- If there is a truck behind you, avoid braking suddenly. Even if the truck is some distance away, a rear-end collision may still happen because a heavily-loaded truck takes longer than usual to come to a stop. If go into a truck’s lane, make sure you have enough speed to pull away to a safe distance. To be safe, move to another lane so the truck isn’t a constant worry for you.
- Trucks have a major blind spot on the right side, so never pass on the right even if the truck is in the middle lane. The driver won’t see you until it is too late. You could be crushed when the truck changes lane or makes a turn. Give way to a truck that wants to go into your lane then pass on the left side if possible if it is going too slow.
- Be aware of the truck’s blind spots. If you can’t see the driver in the truck’s side mirror, then the driver can’t see you either.
- A truck needs a wide berth when turning, so don’t try to make a turn at the same time. Either make a turn well ahead of the truck, or hang back a good way until the driver gets it done.
- Don’t follow a truck too closely. Because a truck is normally higher than a regular car, a rear-end collision may turn deadly if your car goes under the truck. If the truck is stopped or going uphill, wait for it to pull ahead a little before following. Trucks usually have a manual transmission and may roll back before it can get going forward. Keep a safe distance at all times.
These tips are really a guide to road courtesy that can serve you well in different scenarios, but especially when dealing with trucks. Park the attitude at home. In a highway head-to-head, the larger vehicle will always win, so don’t try and take on a truck. You are sure to lose.