Driving around large vehicles, especially 18 wheeler trucks, on the roadway or interstate can be intimidating. If you are in a little car driving next to a large truck on a freeway and are suddenly involved in an accident with them you are at a serious disadvantage. Knowing how to share the road with buses and other large vehicles can help you be a better, safer driver.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), collisions involving large trucks and cars, the occupants of the car sustain 78 percent of the fatalities. It is usually the driver of the car that is killed in the crash. This is why it is important to be extra cautious when driving next to or around large vehicles such as trucks and buses.
There are limitations to what the driver of a large vehicle can do. Sharing the roadway with large vehicles means knowing where their blind spots are located, knowing how they maneuver on the roadway and knowing that the driver needs extra room to stop the large, heavy vehicle. Having this knowledge can make a real difference on the roadway.
Large vehicle drivers cannot see around their big vehicle as well as a normal motorist can see around their own car. There are many blind spots for truckers and other large vehicle drivers. It is wise to know where their blind spots are so you can stay out of them or pass by them quickly. Lingering in a truck's blind spot could easily cause an accident, with your car getting the majority of the damage.
For trucks and most large vehicles, there are four main blind spots or "no-zones." These include the front, back, and sides of the vehicle. Sounds like a lot of blind space because it is. Many trucks have pictures of their blind spots on the back of their truck to alert other motorist to not continuously ride around the large vehicle in these areas. A rule of thumb is if you cannot see the truck driver in the truck's mirror, then the truck driver cannot see you or your vehicle.
Trucks, buses and other large vehicles need more time and distance than other cars do to maneuver and stop. So never cut in front of a large vehicle. You can create an emergency braking situation in which the driver of the large vehicle does not have time to get their heavy vehicle stopped. When pulling in front of a truck always signal and then make sure you can see the front of the truck in your rearview mirror before pulling in front of it.
Avoid moving in front of the large vehicle if you know you will have to immediately brake.The heavy truck or bus will need time to react to your lane change and plenty of distance if they need to brake. Being rear-ended by a large vehicle can shorten your car and even your life.
Truck drivers are maneuvering a big, lumbering vehicle that cannot stop or accelerate as well as the rest of us can in our cars. Large vehicles also cannot make turns like the rest of us motorists can in our mid-size cars or SUVs. Truck drivers have to make wide turns. Left turns are not quiet as perilous as right turns but are still wide so try to stay clear when a large vehicle, like a bus or truck, makes any type of turn.
For right hand turns, be especially careful. Never try to get between the truck and the curb when the truck driver is going turn. If you do you will be stuck in a "squeeze play" and are likely to get a lot of damage to your vehicle as it is hit in the side by the large vehicle. The driver of the truck usually needs to swing wide to the left before safely negotiating a right turn but do not try to sneak pass them when they do. The driver will not be able to see a car that is directly behind them or beside them in their blind spots so be cautious.
Driving around big vehicles takes extra care. You need to pay attention to where the truck or large vehicle is on the roadway, their blind spots and their signals. Being an inattentive driver around a large vehicle can cause you to drive in a truck's blind spot, ignore their brake lights or signals and create dangerous situations.If you chose to not learn to properly share the roadway with large vehicles you can cause a potentially fatal situation, with you getting the worse end of the deal.