Sharing the Road with Big Rigs
If you ever get a little nervous when driving a vehicle, you may have vehophobia, or fear of driving. If driving a two-ton vehicle is unsettling, imagine what it must be like for a truck driver who’s steering a 40-ton, 18-wheeled big rig. Add in the other difficulties that go with the job, and it’s no wonder that a trucker’s life can be so stressful.
One of the biggest stresses for truckers is avoiding accidents, the overwhelming majority of which are caused by the driver of the car. And considering that trucks almost always fare better than cars when the two collide, we could all do a better job of sharing the road with big rigs.
With that in mind, here are four things you can do to ensure your safety around semis out on the street.
Avoid the “No Zones”
The “No Zones” are the areas immediately in front of, behind, and beside a truck where your vehicle is invisible to the driver. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t see the driver’s face in the truck’s side mirrors or in your rear-view mirror, the trucker can’t see you.
When you pass a truck, get the job done carefully and quickly. Accelerate past the truck and don’t linger beside it in a No Zone. In addition to being in the trucker’s blind spot, that truck tire right beside your car may be inflated to more than 100 psi and will sound like a bomb going off if it fails when you’re beside it.
Mind the Lane Change
Truckers try to leave extra space between their trucks and the vehicles in front of them because they can’t slow or stop as quickly as smaller, lighter passenger vehicles. When you pull into that space, you’re putting yourself at greater risk of being rear-ended if you have to suddenly touch the brakes. Allow 8 to 10 car lengths before pulling into the lane in front of a truck, and even more if the traffic in front of you is slowing or coming to a stop.
Trucks need more room when making turns, particularly at tight intersections. If you’re first in line at a traffic light, don’t pull your car past the line so that trucks have plenty of room to turn without making your car collateral damage.