Large vehicles are going to be on the road every time you’re there, and there’s no avoiding them.
Many people get nervous when driving their cars next to an 18-wheeler or a bus. It’s understandable. Nobody wants to entertain odds that are against them.
Besides their sheer size, large vehicles like trucks are known to pose risks like increased blind spots, wide turns, and longer stopping times. Even when you’re not driving, a pedestrian crossing the street would be wary of large vehicles considering the time they take to stop.
There are valid reasons why drivers of smaller vehicles and pedestrians may feel uncomfortable sharing the road with bigger vehicles.
Since you can’t stop other motorists from using the road, it’s crucial to know how to share the road regardless of vehicle sizes around you. Here are things to keep in mind.
1. Avoid Blind Spots
Large vehicles compromise the driver’s field of vision. Unlike your car with two or three, a semi truck, for instance, will have multiple blind spots.
You can be behind, in front, or beside a truck, and the driver won’t be able to see you depending on your proximity to them. In such cases, any decision he makes can be catastrophic to you.
The rule of thumb is to always give the big vehicles more space than you’d give a fellow car. If you allow smaller vehicles a 4-second distance, double that for a bus or an 18-wheeler.
Also, try to avoid driving next to the 18-wheelers. If your car is in a blind spot, the driver can suddenly change lanes, causing a collision.
2. Don’t Cut-off
Proper overtaking procedures are the most ignored road safety tip when sharing a road with trucks and buses.
Due to their enormous size, trucks may appear to be moving slower than they actually are. Cutting a truck driver will force them to brake, but considering it takes them longer to come to a complete stop, such a reckless move could cause an accident.
If you are cutting off a bus driver with passengers, the safe option is to slam into your car rather than try and stop risking multiple lives.
Therefore, following proper passing procedures is just as important as keeping space between you and a bigger vehicle.
Before changing lanes to share one with a large vehicle, follow this procedure:
- Signal to the driver that you want to change lanes
- Check if you can see the 18-wheeler’s headlights in your rearview.
- Glance over to see if you can safely change lanes before attempting to.
Good truck drivers will actually flash their headlights, indicating that it is safe to overtake.
3. Avoid Squeezing Around Large Vehicles
Because of their size, truckers and bus drivers need adequate space to make turns.
Negotiating such turns can be dangerous because these drivers don’t have a wide field of vision directly behind or beside them.
You don’t want to squeeze past when these vehicles make turns because of the risk of getting trapped in their space. Keep in mind that large vehicles take more room during turns.
Always watch out for a bus or truck signaling to turn and give them adequate room for any maneuver.
4. Pay Extra Attention
Always pay extra attention while on the road with trucks. Avoiding distractions, whether in or outside your car, is vital when sharing the road with trucks and buses.
If it’s raining, there are chances that when you come too close, you can slide underneath an 18-wheeler due to braking difficulties.
Remember, truck and bus drivers already face blind spot challenges. Precipitation makes things worse. The risks that these vehicles pose demand that you remain alert at all times.
5. Drive at Speed Limit
Observe the speed limit when sharing the road with large vehicles.
If you suddenly appear in a trucker’s mirror when switching lanes, they can’t help crashing into you because they did not have enough time to react to your presence.
The truckers will have adequate time to spot you when you are within the speed limit. This helps them make the right decisions reducing the risks of a crash.
Knowing how to share the road with all types of road users is a vital component of driving. Large vehicles are a special category of road users because of their size, weight, and the risks they pose. Driving safely alongside these vehicles is a skill you need as a driver.
You can improve road safety by being present and sticking to established traffic rules regarding large vehicles, such as avoiding blind spots, allowing space, and staying within the speed limit.