Commercial truck accidents can be especially dangerous on the roads because of their considerable power and size. Just think about it, what would the impact of a big hefty commercial truck on a much smaller vehicle (which most vehicles on the road) be like?
The result is often a scene of total devastation.
One way to potentially circumvent this situation is by educating drivers of smaller vehicles on how to manoeuvre safely around such massive trucks. Here are some of our top tips to achieve the same:
- Steer Clear of Blind Spots
Due to their sheer size, commercially driven trucks have to deal with a considerable amount of blind spots as compared to other motorists. Therefore, look to actively avoid any of the following spots that might not fall within the eyesight of commercial truck drivers:
- The lane adjoining the driver side to about half the length of the truck
- 9 meters behind the trailer
- About 6 meters in front of the trailer
- Two lanes removed from that of the truck
Remember, if you are unable to see the drivers face through the side mirrors of the truck, it is just as likely that the driver is unable to see you. Steer clear of any such potential blind spots by keeping sufficient distance between the truck and your vehicle.
- Exert Extreme Caution When You are Attempting to Overtake
Prudence is the need of the hour when you are looking to overtake a big commercial trailer. Unlike smaller vehicles, large trucks are unable to manoeuvre or stop quickly. This makes it important that you give the truck driver sufficient time to react. Keep the following in mind when you are attempting to pass the truck:
- Never attempt an overtaking manoeuvre when driving downhill or uphill, as it is possible that the truck might gain or lose speed naturally.
- If you are intent on overtaking the truck ahead of you, attempt the manoeuvre from the left side of the truck where it is easier for the driver to spot you. Ensure that you keep your speeds consistent and that you switch on all the appropriate signals as you are attempting to pass the trailer.
Avoid joining back into the lane and ahead of the truck driver you have just passed until you can clearly spot the driver through your rear-view mirror.
Alternatively if a truck driver is attempting to overtake your vehicle, make sure that you reduce your speed immediately. There are two advantages to this. Firstly, by reducing your speed the truck driver ahead of you has enough space to carry out a safe overtaking manoeuvre. Also, you reduce the amount of time you spend in a blind spot behind the truck driver.
- Always Provide Clear Signals
If you are near a commercial trailer, always provide clear signals before you attempt to change lanes, turn or overtake the trailer. This will help the driver anticipate your next move.
Again, it is important to use the signal much before you would normally do for smaller vehicles so that the driver has enough time to adjust their own movements. A sudden stop or lane change will in most likelihood not provide enough time for the truck driver to react, which could lead to a calamitous accident.
- Give the Commercial Truck Plenty of Space
Look to actively avoid being in the proximity of a big commercial truck for long, as this could expose you to the risks of a potential accident due to the following factors:
- Tire Blowouts- Remnants of the tire can break of and strike your windshield. Huge vehicles can however avoid this by installing a device called wheel nut safety for truck operators.
- Sudden and Sharp Braking- If the truck driver ahead has to brake suddenly, it is possible that your car slides under the big commercial truck or that the truck tips over.
- Strong Winds- High winds have often been the cause of truck rollovers.
Alternatively, you could also try the following to give the truck more space:
- Keep a minimum of 4 seconds worth of following gap between your vehicle and the truck.
- Provide the truck driver with ample amount of space to turn into. Trucks can sometimes take up more than two lanes when turning.
- If the truck ahead is looking to turn to the right, never attempt an overtaking manoeuvre from the right side of the truck. Attempting such a risky manoeuvre could result in there being limited space between the truck and your vehicle.
- Keep Your Concentration on the Road at all Times
If you are distracted while driving in the proximity of a big commercial truck, it will considerably increase the chances of an accident occurring. Steer clear of any activities that could divert your mind and your concentration such as drinks, food, mobile phones or rowdy passengers.
You can always respond to calls or text messages after you reach your intended destination. However, even a slight drop in concentration when driving next to a big truck can end up calamitously. Texting while driving leads to thousands of car and truck accidents every year.
Therefore, it is important to take the requisite steps to avoid being a part of this unfortunate statistic.