Trucks and cars on the same roads can be a stressful and often contentious experience. It doesn’t have to be if everyone follows some simple rules. I will examine 3 scenarios and provide some “things to know” about each. But first, there are some things you need to be aware of when sharing the road with trucks. Every vehicle has a blind spot and trucks are no different. What is different is the size of the blind spot. Depending upon the type of truck, the blind spot can be large enough to hide a large SUV completely from view. In addition, trucks need more space to operate.
Have you ever seen a truck swing wide around a turn so as to ensure the back of the truck can clear some obstacle? Well that is often necessary and you must expect a truck to make exaggerated turns at any intersection. Trucks are heavy and need more space to stop, therefore they should have a greater following distance between them and vehicles in front of them to ensure safety. NEVER intrude upon this space, your life may depend upon it!
Now, let’s look at those 3 scenarios:
Following a truck:
· Watch for flying debris or unsecured loads.
· Watch for spills and debris being kicked up by the rear tires.
· Watch for stones that can fall off the truck or be kicked up off the road. Realize that most trucking companies will not cover windshield damage as it is your responsibility as the following vehicle to maintain a safe following distance.
· Watch for tire trouble. Many trucks run on tires called “retreads”. These are tires that were used, stripped down to the inner casing and re-tread using a complex bonding process that is under great pressure and heat. Although these tires are very reliable and safe, they are not as sturdy as new tires and can fail. Have you ever seen the remains of a tire that looks like it was blown up by a bomb strewn across the highway? That was a retread that failed. For this reason, you should NEVER tailgate a truck or ride directly next to the rear tires of a heavy truck.
Alongside a truck:
· Make sure you are aware of the location of the truck’s blind spot and stay out of it. If you can’t see the driver in his side view mirror, he may not be able to see you either.
· Avoid driving directly alongside a heavy truck. If there is an emergency in front of the truck, he may need space to his left or right to evade an accident. Try not to be in that space just in case.
In front of a truck:
· Don’t intrude on the space a truck is maintaining from the vehicle in front of him. It is there for your safety.
· Remember that a truck needs a lot of distance to stop and may be hauling a heavy load increasing that distance further. When approaching a stop of any kind, do not enter the lane in front of the truck. The truck may look calm from the outside, but the driver inside may be working very hard to ensure he stops the truck in time. We have all seen a truck come to a lurching halt at a stop. That was a truck struggling to come to a complete stop in time.
· Never ever remain in front of a truck that is tailgating! Everyone has seen a car being tailgated by a truck or bus and the car defiantly remains in the lane blocking the larger vehicle. This is the absolutely dumbest thing you can EVER do. I cannot stress this enough, GET OUT OF THE WAY!!! It is for your own safety. When a heavy truck tailgates a vehicle to “tell” that vehicle to move, that truck driver has already put your life in GRAVE DANGER.
There is no way he can stop that truck if there is an emergency in front of you and you must make an emergency stop. And as is often the case with road rage, remaining in front of that trucker in an act of defiance can have catastrophic consequences. If you anger a driver who is already making very poor decisions with your life, do you really want to test him and see if he can make worse decisions? Get out of the way and don’t let yourself be a victim of foolish behavior.
I hope this was informative and that you learned something. Maybe someone’s life can be saved with some common sense.
Be safe, be well and most of all BE HAPPY!