Every day when commuting to work, you may encounter big trucks on the road. These gigantic vehicles can carry 80,000 pounds of cargo, if not more. Whereas you may not have far to go, those drivers could be on the blacktop for hours and days at a time.
Keep a sharp eye around you when on the road with a big rig. However, even acute awareness may not keep you from a tired driver swerving into your lane. Here are some tips to keep safe when sharing the road with the big boys.
1. Give trucks plenty of room
Like cars, trucks have blind spots — several of them. If they cannot see you, they may move over into your lane.
Also try not to stop suddenly when ahead of a big rig. A fully loaded tractor-trailer going at 60 mph takes about 335 feet to stop. That distance is comparable to the length of a football field.
2. 18-wheelers are not small cars
A big rig cannot make a sharp turn quickly and usually needs two lanes to turn. A tractor-trailer can require a 55-feet radius to make a corner. Respect the driver of a truck that big. If you are coming from the opposite direction of a turning truck, give plenty of distance when it is making the turn.
3. Take extra precautions at night
Truckers on the road at night must drive slow enough to stop within the distance of their headlights. If you see a big rig driving too close, you may want to move over and let it go around. Tired, drowsy drivers are possible as well. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has specific hours of service for drivers, including required rest breaks, but hours still can be long.
Be aware of the 18-wheelers around you. Truckers can see you best when you are on the driver’s side of the vehicle. Even when you know the rules of the road, accidents happen. If a truck driver violates laws and regulations specific to tractor-trailers leading to an accident, you may have grounds to recover damages.