If you commute into Asheville, you probably see semi-trucks on the road every day. It is nearly impossible to drive on the freeway without having to contend with them. Trucking is a dangerous business, and most semi-truck accidents involve smaller cars. These are six quick tips to help you stay safe when sharing the road with big rigs.
1. Stay out of blind spots
Because of their seat elevation and the long trailers they pull, semi-trucks have more blind spots than four-wheel cars. Trucks have blind spots on either side of them, behind them and directly in front of them.
This means that in addition to avoiding the blind spots on either side of the truck, you may want to avoid tailing the tractor too closely or cutting directly in front of a truck. You should also be advised that the right-hand blind spot for a semi is noticeably larger than the one on the left.
2. Avoid passing on the right
Knowing that the blind spot is larger for a semi-truck on the right, it is a good idea to avoid passing them on the right-hand side. Remember that due to the position of the driver’s seat, the passenger side blind spot of a semi-truck extends for two lanes.
3. Use turn signals earlier
Because semi-trucks are so much larger, they do not have the same reaction speed as a smaller vehicle. It takes a lot longer for a truck to maneuver and to effectively apply their breaks. Therefore, if you are going to merge into a lane with a semi-truck, you should give them more time to anticipate your move by using your turn signal earlier.
4. Watch out for turning trucks
Right turns can be one of the most dangerous maneuvers for a semi-truck to undertake. When a semi-truck turns right, they may need to swing wide out to the left before cutting the corner.
It is also important to know that a semi’s rear wheels will follow a shorter path than its front wheels. This means that you don’t want to be between a semi and the curb when it is turning, as that space will collapse as the car turns.
5. Lower your headlights
As with driving with other cars, you should lower your head lights when sharing the road. Be especially cautious of having your headlights on while driving behind a semi, as their large side mirrors can reflect your headlights and impair the driver’s vision.
6. Don’t drive too close
It is a good idea to employ defensive driving techniques when sharing the road with semi-trucks. A good rule of thumb is to give yourself extra space with a semi-truck and not linger too long around them.
When passing trucks on the freeway, always pass on the left, approach at a constant speed and get out further ahead of the truck than you would for a car before merging back into the right lane.