How To Stay Safe While Driving Around Trucks in the US

Driving a car can be a dangerous thing, especially when you're driving around trucks. While truck drivers aren't usually trying to harm anyone or cause accidents, they are much larger and harder to maneuver than other types of vehicles. If you know how to stay safe while driving around trucks, however, then neither vehicle is likely to be at fault in an accident.

How To Stay Safe While Driving Around Trucks

Keep a safe following distance

The common mistake people make while driving around large trucks is that they drive for the length of the truck instead of the size of their own vehicle. For example, if someone was following a semi-truck too closely and were involved in an accident, they would actually be considered at fault as the semi-truck driver. Why? Because it is assumed that if you were following a semi-truck too closely, it is because there was not enough room on the road for both vehicles to travel safely side by side; therefore, you should have been traveling further back and given more distance between your car and the truck. The risk of getting in an accident involving trucks gets higher on busy highways such as Colorado’s C-470, I-70, and I-25. Because of this, any experienced truck accident lawyer would emphasize defensive driving and seek legal advice when an accident involves a truck. This is because truck accidents are more complicated than car accidents. For one, the injuries resulting from a truck accident are usually more serious than those involving cars. The trucking industry’s highly regulated nature requires more pieces of evidence to present and review. There is also the possible involvement of more liable parties in a truck accident lawsuit. 

Use your turn signals

This makes it easier for other drivers to know what you're about to do without having any guesswork or surprises. Some drivers may misjudge where trucks are going and attempt to pass them when their blind spots might cause harm. Make sure you use your turn signal so no one has any reason to worry about which direction you plan on heading.

Beware of trucks making wide turns

While you may see a truck trying to turn, it doesn't necessarily mean that the driver is going to try and cut their radius short in order to get into your lane. Trucks have long front ends, which means they will need more space while turning on busy roads with lots of traffic. Make sure you leave enough room between your car and the truck, so there's no way someone can think you're attempting to fit where there's clearly not enough room for two vehicles.

Don't tailgate a semi-truck

This one should be pretty obvious--if there's a big rig nearby, don't tailgate them! If you're behind a semi-truck and not paying attention, it is very easy to slam into the back of one if they apply their brakes. Don't put yourself in danger by trying to keep up with a semi-truck--you won't win!

Don't cut off a truck on the freeway

Driving near large vehicles on freeways can be frightening for some drivers because trucks have the tendency to drive slow or speed up quickly. If you see a semi-truck speeding up from behind you, don't move over as fast as possible, so they can get ahead of you. This may cause them to slam on their breaks and scare the life out of you. Make sure you always use common sense while driving around any type of vehicle, but especially those that are bigger than you.

Don't tailgate any type of vehicle

This one may seem like common sense, but many people still do it! You cannot see what's in another drivers' blind spots, especially the rear ones. If you're tailgating someone, and they decide to apply their brakes quickly or turn without using a turn signal, there's a good chance you'll be involved in an accident. The best thing to do when driving by other vehicles is to either maintain the same speed as them or keep some distance between your car and theirs.

Keep all distractions at bay when driving by trucks

Distractions can lead to accidents; trucks only make this risk even greater because of their size and potentiality for danger. If you need to talk on the phone or text, pull over somewhere safe and do it there. Make sure your passengers are buckled up safely in their seatbelts before driving around trucks because it is very easy for one of them to fly out of their seatbelt if someone slams on the breaks or turns quickly.

Trucks aren't going away anytime soon, so make sure you know the proper precautions to take when you're around them. Following all of these tips for driving around trucks will help you avoid causing an accident with a semi-truck or any other large vehicle on the road. Remember that although big rigs may seem intimidating sometimes, truck drivers are human too! Be nice and patient to keep yourself safe--and everyone else on the road!--while you're out there.