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3 smart ways to stay safe when driving close to big commercial trucks

Certain universal rules help keep you safe at the wheel. Staying focused on the conditions around you, avoiding distractions and following all traffic laws, including the requirement to signal your turns, can reduce your potential risk for a crash.

However, certain aspects of modern traffic require special consideration. Commercial vehicles are among the most dangerous vehicles on the road. When they get into a crash with a smaller passenger vehicle, the people in the smaller vehicle could easily suffer severe injuries because of the discrepancy in weight and size between the vehicles.

Big commercial trucks can completely destroy smaller vehicles even at moderate speeds. Thankfully, there are a few common-sense rules that can help you stay safe when driving close to big trucks.

Give big trucks plenty of room at intersections

Quite a few crashes happen at intersections, often because people don’t watch carefully enough or because they misjudge what someone is going to do. Big trucks have both visibility issues and maneuvering issues that can impact their safety at intersections. Staying far enough back that you won’t impede a wide turn on the part of a truck is usually safer than getting close to them when stopped at an intersection.

Avoid driving directly next to big trucks if possible

Huge commercial trucks have big blind spots that make it hard for them to spot others in traffic. Staying out of those blind spots usually means avoiding the lane directly to the left of a commercial truck and two lanes directly to the right of a commercial truck’s trailer. Also, when driving behind a truck, it’s a good idea to give extra space between their rear bumper and your front bumper.

Be extra careful when merging in front of big trucks

The size and weight of a large commercial truck mean that it takes them a lot longer to come to a stop than smaller passenger vehicles. Make sure that you give yourself at least 30 feet of space if not more between the commercial vehicle and yours when merging and make sure you are going the same speed as the truck or faster, as they may not be able to stop in time if you merge too closely or merge while doing a slower speed.

Sadly, no matter how safe you are, it’s still possible for people in commercial trucks to make bad driving decisions that lead to crashes. Those who suffer injuries because of a driver’s mistakes will potentially have the right to file an insurance claim or even pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver.