Sharing the road with the ‘big rigs’: 10 tips for safe driving

Jim Berge

By Jim Berge Business Development at King Solutions

Sharing the road with vehicles many times larger than your car doesn’t have to mean impending doom.  We can all share the road and get safely to our destinations.  Joel Dale (our claims manager) put together this list of tips to help all of us coexist on the road.

Semi-trucks and large “straight” (single-unit) trucks, by virtue of their size and extra-weight have different handling characteristics of cars and other similar motor-vehicles; as a result drivers should be aware of possible situations when encountering one of these vehicles on the road.

  1. Although it may be tempting when switching lanes or exiting, avoid cutting in front of a truck.  You may get hit, you may not.  Better to continue on to the next exit and take that.
  2. Drivers should not pass on either the left or right when behind a turning truck. Trucks often need to “swing” into the adjacent lane when making a right-hand turn.  This is because the length of the truck  result in the rear trailer wheels traveling a shorter distance than the front tires.  Without making a wide turn the rear wheels often ride up on the curb.
  3. When passing a truck, make sure you can see the entire length of the vehicle before signaling and moving into the desired lane of traffic.
  4. Remember, if you are behind a truck and cannot see the driver’s mirrors, the driver cannot see you.
  5. In addition to not being able to see directly behind the trailer, a truck driver has 2 other blind spots.  The first is immediately out his/her left side and the second is a wider area to his/her right side where the mirrors are not pointed.  On either side the driver cannot see you if you are directly across from or next to the cab.
  6. When passing a truck keep in mind that due to its size, it is often displacing large volumes of air, resulting in a “wind gust”.  Keep both hands firmly on the wheel.  (This also applies when a truck is passing you.)
  7. If you see a truck changing lanes remember that it takes longer to do so when compared to a car.  Factor this in while driving.
  8. If you are behind a truck and the truck stops on a hill give the truck some extra room when you stop behind it.  When the driver shifts into gear after the stop, the truck may roll back as a result.
  9. When following behind a truck, follow at a 4-5 second interval.  When following a truck used to haul gravel, sand, concrete or livestock it’s a good idea to leave even more space as the truck may lose some debris that could potentially hit your vehicle.
  10. In winter, be aware that some trucks do not sweep snow and ice of the tops of their trailers; as a result, chunks of snow and ice may fly off the top of the trailer and strike your vehicle.  Leave extra-extra space when traveling behind a truck under these conditions.

Thanks for reading, I hope these tips will help keep you and your family safe as you share the roads with the “big rigs”.

Contact us today to learn how King monitors the safety of our clients’ freight on the road.

consultation button