Driving on the highway can feel like navigating a complex puzzle, especially when sharing the road with large semi-trucks. Their sheer size and the challenges they present demand respect and caution.
Being aware of their unique limitations and understanding how to maneuver around them can make your journey safer and less stressful.
Understanding the blind spots
Semi-trucks have large blind spots, often referred to as “no-zones.” These zones include areas directly behind the truck, directly in front of the truck and along either side, especially on the right. If you cannot see the truck driver in their side mirror, they cannot see you, so stay out of blind spots.
Maintaining a safe distance
Keeping a safe following distance can be a lifesaver on the road. It allows you more time to react if the semi-truck suddenly slows down or stops. As a rule, aim to maintain a four-second following distance from any semi-truck you are behind.
Overtaking with caution
When passing a semi-truck, make sure you have plenty of space to complete the maneuver. Signal your intention well in advance. Pass swiftly but safely and avoid cutting in front of the truck too closely. Remember, it takes longer for a semi-truck to reduce speed than it does for a smaller vehicle.
Being aware of wide turns
Semi-trucks require extra room to turn. Be aware of this, particularly if a truck driver has signaled their intention to turn right. They may initially swing left to accommodate the turn. Never try to squeeze by on the right side when a truck is turning.
Respecting challenging conditions
Adverse weather conditions or poor road quality can increase the difficulty for semi-trucks to maneuver or stop quickly. In these conditions, increase your following distance and be patient.
Driving safely around semi-trucks is an important skill that all drivers should acquire. Respect the limitations that come with operating a large vehicle, stay patient and alert and always remember that safety should be your top priority on the road.