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How to Safely Drive Behind a Semi-Truck

How to Safely Drive Behind a Semi-Truck (PDF)

semi-truck on the road between mountains

When you drive next to a semi-truck on the highway there are likely to be more hazards than when you drive next to a small car. Compared to smaller vehicles the semi-truck can provoke even more catastrophic accidents.

However, there are some ways to avoid these accidents as much as possible, drivers can take some precautions to remain safer when traveling behind a semi-truck:

  • Such as keeping a safe distance;
  • Overtaking on the left;
  • Being alert;

If you know what to do when driving around a semi-truck, your and the passenger’s ride can be safer. Taking steps to prevent an accident can save countless lives.

The best way to stay safe when driving behind a semi-truck

If you were involved in an accident, here is a guide on How to deal with truck accidents in Atlanta.

Some of the steps you can take to avoid a truck accident and ensure a safe journey are listed below.

Pass on the left

It’s better to pass a truck on the left side if you’re behind it. Since the truck driver sits on the left, they have a better view on that side. The safest way to pass a semi-truck is on the left. If a semi-truck passes on the right, it could miss them in its mirrors and merge into another lane. 

Overtaking a semi-truck safely includes some important tips below:

  • Keep as much distance as possible between you and the truck;
  • Only pass under safe conditions;
  • Use your turn signal before you pass them and after if you change lanes;
  • Ensure there is enough room if you change back into the right lane after passing the semi-truck;

When passing a semi-truck, you should follow proper safety protocols.

Stay Alert

Avoid distractions when driving behind a semi-truck. If the truck driver stops suddenly, you might not have time to avoid hitting them. Stay alert behind a semi-truck driver by following these tips, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Keep your cell phone away from you:

Wait until the vehicle has stopped before sending a text or dialing a phone number.

Eating in the car is not a good idea:

The act of eating can reduce your alertness by removing your hands from the wheel and your eyes from the road.

When driving, always pay attention to the traffic in front of you and road conditions, especially when driving around large trucks.

Look For the Truck Driver in the Mirrors

When passing a semi-truck, make sure you can see them in their mirrors. If you can see them in the mirror, they can likely see you.

Keep a Safe Distance

When driving behind a semi-truck, keeping a safe distance can make you safer, since the behavior of a truck driver can be unpredictable. If you leave a good distance between you and the truck, you will have more time to adjust your driving.

The most dangerous actions to avoid when driving behind a semi-truck

A guide on how to stay safe around semi-trucks is available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):

Driving behind semi-trucks can be dangerous if you do the following:

Driving in the blind spot of a truck driver for too long.

As a result of their large size, truck drivers have many blind spots. Avoid staying in a known blind spot for too long.

Opening the tailgate or driving too close to semi-trucks.

Firstly, the semi-truck driver will not be able to see you when you drive directly behind their vehicle. Secondly, if the semi-truck driver breaks or turns, you may not be able to stop in time.

On the road, you can keep yourself and your passengers safe by avoiding these dangerous acts.

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