7 Tips for Safe Driving Next to Tractor Trailer Trucks

Author: Casey Alvis | December 13th, 2021

‘Tis the season for tractor trailer trucks to be hauling more gifts than Santa’s sleigh. The roads are crowded with tractor trailers year-round, but the holiday season brings even more traffic and dangerous conditions.  

·   Stay Visible—Every vehicle has blind spots, but a truck’s blind spots can be even more dangerous. A truck driver cannot make as quick of an adjustment as a lightweight vehicle if they notice you at the last second. Avoid being in the following spots for your safety and the safety of the trucker: 20 feet in front of them, 30 feet behind them, 2 lanes wide on the right, or halfway up the length of the truck on the driver’s side. Generally, if you cannot see the truck driver in their mirrors, they probably cannot see you.

·   Utilize Turn Signals Appropriately—Tractor trailer trucks are obviously heavier and larger than the other vehicles on the road. Something that substantial will not be able to stop or swerve as quickly. Give truckers plenty of notice when you are stopping or changing lanes by using your turn signals.

· Give Truckers Some Space—In addition to needing more time to stop or swerve, truckers also need more space to make turns. They may take up multiple lanes during a wide turn. Avoid traveling too closely to a tractor trailer for your safety and theirs. If they stop quickly, you could plow into the back of them or slide under their trailer. High winds can cause tractor trailers to tip over so try to avoid being next to them when possible. Tire blowouts are another common problem for truckers. If you are too close when this happens, you could easily be in an accident colliding with the truck or the chunk of tire rubber.

·   Pass Responsibly—Passing on the trucker’s left side is safer than the right. Make sure to maintain your speed and signal when you pass. If a trucker signals that they are changing lanes or passing you, keep right and avoid speeding up. This will help the trucker pass safely and help you avoid being in a blind spot. Also, avoid passing a tractor trailer truck when they are going uphill or downhill.

·   Turn off the Bright Lights—Hopefully, you are already being a courteous driver by turning off your high beam bright lights when there is oncoming traffic. If not, your fellow motorists will appreciate that regardless of if they are a trucker. Truckers will be especially appreciative because your bright lights can be blinding reflecting off their mirrors. Since they cannot stop quickly, truckers must avoid being blinded for any portion of time. Save the bright lights for your Christmas tree!

·   Buckle Up—Wearing your seatbelt is the law while driving and vital for your safety. If you are in an accident with any vehicle, especially a tractor trailer truck, a seatbelt could save your life.

·   Drive Focused—Distracted driving is the cause of far too many accidents these days. If you are texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, messing with your radio or GPS, or having conversations with your passengers, you will be less likely to remain focused on safe driving practices. Whatever you are doing while driving can wait. Your safety and the safety of other motorists depends on you.

Share the road safely – Be considerate of the drivers around you for their safety and yours. Happy holidays from the Pantusa Towing family!