Semi-trucks are a very common sight on the roads. They transport necessary goods we all enjoy on a daily basis. While most of the time, they pose no danger, there are some things drivers can do to stay safe around them. Read on to learn five tips to help you stay safe while driving near semi-trucks.
#1 - Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
It is critical you stay vibrantly aware of your surroundings at all times so you are not surprised by anything that should come up. This includes checking your mirrors often and scanning the road ahead consistently.
#2 - Don't cut off a semi-truck or try to pass it on the right side.
It is very important that you don't cut off a semi-truck. They need a lot more room to slow down and stop than smaller vehicles, so you could cause an accident if you're not paying attention. Trucks also cannot maneuver as easily as passenger vehicles, which makes sudden lane changes far more challenging for truckers.
Additionally, it is wise to only pass semi-trucks on the left side. This is because they have large blind spots on the right side, and you could easily get hit if you're not careful. Not to mention, South Dakota law requires that all vehicles pass to the left in order to help maintain a safe, even flow of traffic and so that all drivers know what to expect when passing or being passed.
#3 - Keep a safe distance between your car and the semi-truck.
A good general rule to keep in mind when it comes to keeping enough distance between your car and the truck is to make sure that you can see the truck's side mirrors. This will help ensure that the driver can see you and hopefully avoid any accidents if the trucker suddenly needs to change lanes.
Additionally, it is wise to leave at least one car length distance between you and the vehicle in front of you for every 10 miles per hour (mph) of your speed. For instance, if you are driving at a rate of 60 mph, it is best to leave a distance of at least six car lengths between your vehicle and the one ahead of you.
#4 - If possible, avoid driving in front of a semi-truck.
It is best to avoid driving ahead of a semi-truck when possible because they have large blind spots in front of the cab. The front end of most semi-trucks prevents truck drivers from seeing anything within 25 feet of the front of the cab. If you can't see the truck driver in their side mirrors, then they most likely cannot see you either.
This is why it is so important to use your signal lights whenever you plan on changing lanes or passing a semi-truck. You want to make sure that the driver is well aware of your presence and knows your intentions before you make any sudden movements.
#5 - Be prepared to brake quickly if necessary.
Especially when driving directly behind a truck, it is difficult to see past these massive vehicles at times. This can make it difficult to know when the truck is suddenly slowing down or stopping, so you need to be prepared to brake quickly if necessary.
Tailgating is never a good idea, but it is especially dangerous when done behind a semi-truck. If the truck needs to stop suddenly and you're tailgating, you could easily rear-end the truck and cause a serious underride accident.
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