It can be difficult for everyday drivers to understand the extra accommodations that truck drivers need on the road. Their size and weight create unique challenges that can become hazardous if others on the road are unaware of them.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) outlines the things that drivers of passengers need to know about commercial trucks in order to stay safe on the road. Here are four of the main things to remember:
Larger blind spots
The blind spots of a commercial truck extend far past what a typical driver might expect. They include:
- Two lanes to the right
- One lane to the left
- 20 feet in front
- 30 feet in back
As you drive near commercial trucks, be wary of sitting in their blind spots. Always stay where the truck driver can see you and move quickly through blind spots if you must pass.
While a passenger vehicle may be able to slam on the brakes and stop within a matter of feet, the stopping distance of a commercial truck is much longer because of their size and weight. A fully loaded truck going 65 miles an hour on the highway will need up to two football fields to stop their vehicle.
This lengthy stopping distance means that you should never cut in front of a truck because they likely will not have the ability to keep you safe.
Be patient around commercial trucks. Just like they are slower to stop, they are also slower to accelerate. So, when you find yourself behind a big rig, remember that you will need to give them a little extra time.
Trucks also cannot make the sharp turns that passenger vehicles can. They must make wide turns with the cab to ensure that their trailers will follow safely. You should always pay attention to how much space you are leaving a truck as they turn, because they may need up to 55 feet.
While you cannot control other drivers, you can make sure that you understand how to keep yourself and others safe on the road. Always be cautious around commercial trucks.