Commercial trucks are arguably the scariest vehicles you will encounter on the road other than when you cross paths with a train. You instinctively know that a vehicle so much larger than your own is a potential source of danger.
Semitrucks can cause catastrophic damage to smaller vehicles. Their size makes them difficult to maneuver, which is why commercial drivers need specialized licenses and extra training. Some commercial crashes are the results of decisions by people in passenger vehicles. Other collisions are clearly the fault of the commercial driver.
You obviously can’t control what professional drivers do, but you can control your own driving habits. What common driving behaviors might increase your personal risk of a wreck involving a commercial vehicle?
Driving in a semitruck’s blind spots
The overall height and length of the trailer attached to a semi-truck make it impossible for drivers to see all the way around them.
Even if there are extra mirrors surrounding the cab of the vehicle, the driver may not be able to spot vehicles driving to the left of their trailer or in the two lanes to the right of their trailer. Vehicles too close to the back of a truck can also be impossible for the driver to spot when making choices about their next maneuver.
The more space you give commercial trucks, the less likely you are to end up hurt in a crash because the driver didn’t see you.
They don’t adjust their maneuvers for the size of the vehicle
A trucker isn’t the only one who has to take the limitations of their vehicle into consideration. Everyone else in traffic should do the same thing.
For example, if you intend to merge in front of a commercial truck, you usually need to provide twice the space that you would give a smaller vehicle because of how much longer they take to stop. You may also need to give them more room at intersections, as their turns can be particularly wide. If you fail to accommodate those limitations, you could end up hurt as a result.
Identifying how you might contribute to commercial trucking crashes could help reduce your risk of experiencing one.