Be Defensive: Tips When Driving Alongside Trucks

posted by Chris Valentine

Many people encounter challenges when driving around trucks, especially when doing this over long distances. This is extremely risky hence the need to be always careful. Trucks cause severe accidents owing to several factors, including their big size, visibility, vehicle malfunction, poor maintenance, speed, inability to brake instantly unlike other types of automobiles and environmental factors such as bad weather. If you ever find yourself in this kind of situation, it is very prudent to take the following precautions:

1.  Avoid the blind spots

It is extremely significant to avoid driving in any truck’s blind spot, which means avoiding driving behind and besides a truck. This is often described as a truck’s no zone and you can find more information about how to avoid this from Zutobi’s no zone article. Note that the best thing to do is to overtake the truck if the road is clear. Alternatively, you might want to slow down to allow so that the truck driver has an easy view of you through the side mirrors. This is why big trucks have giant side mirrors to enable their drivers to have a better view of other vehicles. While driving at night, it is also vital to dim your lights when moving close to or approaching any truck to prevent blinding the driver.

2.  Do not drive under any influence

This issue has been there, and all drivers must recognize the risks involved. Alcohol and drugs are known to impair not only one’s judgment but also timing. It does not matter whether it is a drink over a counter, a marijuana smoke, drug injection, sniffing any drug administered even after prescription or medications. Any drug that causes side effects can make driving risky. Never drive under the influence of any drug or substance even when in a desperate situation.

3.  Remain focused

Whenever a driver is negligent, he or she puts a lot of people at risk. Consequently, avoid using anything that will distract you when driving. Note that google maps or GPS systems, mobile phones, and any other devices should not be used while driving alongside a heavy-duty truck.

Resist little mistakes that might distract your focus when driving. Avoid eating or even adjusting the radio and any other unnecessary actions when driving alongside a truck.

In fact, staying focused when driving enables you to estimate the velocity of any vehicle around you as they approach, turn or change lanes. This allows you to react appropriately and safely in time.

4.  Be patient

It would help if you learned to be patient when driving alongside or sharing the road with trucks. Remember, those drivers have strict working regulations to follow, and if you watch closely, most of them usually use operating devices like speed limiter, which restricts vehicle speed. Hostile driving or juggling through-traffic will not motivate any heavy truck driver to speed up or pave the way for you. Instead, you are likely to cause an accident or even break traffic rules. This automatically puts you in trouble, and you might end up in the hands of the police.

5.  Keep a safe distance

When driving, confirm that you keep a reasonable distance between your vehicle and any heavy commercial truck. If you move very close to the truck, the driver might not be in a position to see you. This may result in an accident during an emergency braking or stop. Unsafe distance between two vehicles is likely to result in an accident. We have actually had several cases of the same to deal with. According to the advice from the Truck accident attorneys at Guajardo Marks, safe distance precautions should be taken to avoid unnecessary blunders. Ensure you slow down when a truck ahead of you is changing lanes. Keeping a safe distance also gives you more time to react to other unexpected accidents, such as when a tire blows out or controlling the vehicle as a result of the effects of bad weather.

6.  Practice Safe Overtaking

It is ever prudent to overtake another vehicle safely and carefully; especially where heavy commercial trucks are involved. This is because the large, heavy vehicle cannot stop as quickly as any other normal vehicle.

Truck drivers require enough time to respond and adjust their speed and brake accordingly.

When you’re overtaking a large truck, always approach from the left side. This makes it easier for the driver to see you through the side mirror. Without any distraction, maintain a constant speed while overtaking and constantly signal clearly in advance. Consequently, before you drive back into the lane in front of the truck, ensure you can see it in your rearview mirror to ensure a comfortable distance is maintained.

It’s also worth noting that any time a truck overtakes your vehicle, you are required to slow down to allow enough space in front of you for the driver to drive past you safely. This normally requires more space, and you should often be careful enough by allowing it.

7.  Tie your seat belts

This is an important law and should be kept as such. Seat belts are very significant, and that’s why the authorities are very strict about them. Wearing your seat belt keeps you safer should you be involved in an accident.

8.  Give trucks enough space to turn

Trucks are not only heavy but also large and long. Therefore, they need more than enough space to turn and drift. Watch for turn indications on trucks, and be cautious not to pass any truck with a signal to turn in any direction.

9.  Keep Watching for Runaway Trucks

Heavy trucks are likely to have mechanical failures. They may overheat, brakes sometimes fail, and tires can easily blow out. That does not mean that they are never in good condition, due to the nature of their work, they are prone to such failures. If a truck loses the use of brakes, it moves very fast, especially if the brakes are lost downhill. If you notice any runaway truck behind you, ensure that you maneuver out of its way as quickly as possible.

If you find yourself driving along with a big commercial wheeler or any other form of a large truck, do not get nervous. It is important to pay attention to the above-mentioned tips. In case of any accidents, feel free and obligated to look for professional assistance.

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