The trucking industry is vital to the nation’s economy and helps transport everything from food and furniture to cars and grains. According to Truckers Report, semitrailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and average 70 to 80 feet in length, dwarfing most passenger vehicles on the road. Considering their size and weight alone, it’s no surprise that these massive vehicles can be difficult to safely navigate through heavy traffic, poor weather conditions, around curves and up hills.
What passenger car drivers sometimes don’t realize is that their own driving habits can cause difficulty for truckers as well. What can you do to share the road safely with truckers? Follow these tips to be a safer driver around large trucks and semitrailers.
Avoid a truck’s blind spots. A semitrailer’s blind spots are significantly larger than a passenger vehicle’s, and the best way to avoid a collision is to stay away from them. Most semis have large blind spots to the right and rear, with smaller blind spots on the right front corner and left middle. While being in a truck’s blind spot is often inevitable, drivers should take care to get out of them quickly when passing.
Leave a lot of space when changing lanes in front of a truck. Even when traffic is slow, avoid changing lanes then braking right in front of a semi. Semitrailers need 40% more time to stop than a car.
Be patient when a truck is turning or reversing. Turning a semi around or reversing it can take a lot of time and requires plenty of space. The average turn radius on a semi is 55 feet, but can vary based on the length and number of trailers being hauled. The turning radius for an average-sized car is about 35 feet. Give a driver space and time to make a turn safely.
Let a truck merge. Merging onto a highway or changing lanes in high-traffic areas is difficult for truck drivers. If a trucker is signaling, slow down and let them in.
Forgive their speed (or lack thereof) while going up and down hills. Large, heavy semis slow down significantly when ascending a hill and can accelerate quickly when going downhill. When traveling uphill, be patient with the truck’s speed and pass as quickly as you can, minding the blind spots. When going downhill, let the trucker have the passing lane, if needed.
Whether you’re a commercial trucker or an everyday motorist, being mindful and respectful of other drivers will help make roads safer for all. Cenex® retailers are proud to meet your fuel needs, big or small. To find a Cenex dealer near you, visit www.cenex.com.
For more tips on sharing the road with semis, read this article by Edmunds.com.