Many people get anxiety when they look in their rear-view mirror and see a large semi-truck behind them on the road. These 80,000 plus pound machines can seem daunting when they drive alongside your Prius or Civic but have no fear, there are tips on how to safely share the road with even the largest of vehicles.
It is important to play it safe. If a truck is signalling and about to enter your lane, resist the urge to speed up in order to avoid getting stuck behind it. Drive on the side of caution as you can brake a lot faster than an 18-wheeler and avoid a potential accident.
If you have found yourself behind a truck while it has stopped on an incline, it’s imperative to allow extra space. When it releases its brakes, the truck could roll back a few feet before it gets going again and you want to avoid it rolling into your vehicle!
This should be a rule no matter who you are sharing the road with, but if your street side partner is a 40-tonne truck, do not cut in front. It takes a lot longer for them to stop than it does for any passenger vehicle. Trucks leave large gaps in front of them to allow for stopping distance so by cutting in and filling their safety gap, you’re creating a potentially hazardous situation
Commercial trucks have large blind spots on both sides which can impair them from seeing if another vehicle is about to swerve in front so it is best to avoid this act at all cost.
Speaking of blind spots, it may already be common knowledge but the larger the truck, the larger the blind spots. It is vital that you are aware of where these spots are. Either side of the truck, especially on the right side, are not visible to the driver of the truck, as well as areas in the front and back. Don’t forget, if you can’t see the driver in their side mirror, they can’t see you. If you must pass a truck, you will be in their blind spot so do so slowly and carefully.
Be aware of the wind. Semi-trucks are very vulnerable to when the wind picks up which makes them hard to control. Keep this in mind and give ample space and time when interacting with a truck on a windy day.
Large trucks also require extra turning room. Watch their turn signals, give them space to maneuver, and stay safe. Driving between a truck in the middle of a turn and the side of the road could result in you getting stuck.
It can be especially daunting to share the road with a truck in the rain or snow so when approaching an oncoming truck, make sure your wipers are on to prevent any spray from a passing truck obscuring your view. This is good practice at all times but keep your windshield clean and your wipers in good working condition.
No matter how comfortable you are behind the wheel, stay alert at all times, especially around trucks. Their weight and overall size make them slower to react so drive defensively to keep everyone safe. Always practice safe driving habits and do not panic when sharing the road with trucks, remember these tips and your road anxiety will disappear.
To learn more about safety and the latest development in technology in the auto industry, join us at the 2018 Vancouver International Auto Show.
The 98thVancouver International Auto Show returns to the Convention Centre West from March 28 to April 1, 2018. For more information on the Show and to purchase tickets, visit www.VancouverInternationalAutoShow.com.
Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.