Driving through the Smokies on I-40 can be a beautiful experience, but make sure you’re paying respect to the natural inhabitant: the long-haul semitruck.

The highway carves through the mountains, which means stunning vistas and forest-covered peaks. It also means fluctuating widths and sudden curves. They may not seem like much in your car, but trucks have their size and weight to think about as they round those scenic bends. Always think ahead when driving with trucks on the highway, to avoid accidents and injury.

Give them the road

Make sure you think twice before you act around a big wheeler. Stay on the defensive and have a plan in place before you act. You can move a lot faster and getting out of their way might be the safest path for everyone.

Blind spots

Trucks have several large blind spots surrounding them, thanks to the size and nature of the vehicle. If you can’t see a truck’s side mirrors, they can’t see you. Make sure you know where these zones are located and avoid them when possible.

Pass quickly

Never linger next to a semitruck. If they need to take evasive action, that action might be into you. Keeping clear applies to wherever you find yourself around a semi, whether it’s the front, side or rear. Pass them with a purpose and be mindful when getting back into their lane.

Keep your distance

Those big rigs are hauling tons back there. And with great weight comes great momentum. A semitruck traveling 65 MPH will take up to two football fields to stop. This distance can multiply depending on weather conditions in the pass. Make sure you leave plenty of room for them to come to a complete stop.

You can responsibly appreciate the wonders of the Smoky Mountains by staying vigilant and deferring to your fellow travelers. Respect their size and their speed, and you should be well on your way to arriving safely at your destination.