How do I safely drive around large trucks?

Big rigs consume our interstates. Driving beside them can be intimidating, and hearing about accidents only increases our uneasiness. Blind spots, large turning radiuses, and long stopping distances are all reasons to take precautions.

As non-big rig drivers, we can do our part to ease both frustration and the likelihood of an accident with 18-wheelers by following a few basic safety tips on our interstates and city streets.

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Tips to share the interstates with 18-wheelers

Avoid no-zones on the interstates. Do not linger in the no-zones, which are directly behind the truck and beside it toward the front of the truck. If you need to pass an 18-wheeler, do it quickly and safely. Remember, if you can't see the driver, he or she can't see you.

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Leave plenty of space around the truck. Don't cut in front of or behind a big truck. Due to the massive weights, they cannot stop quickly, and they need room to slow down.

If a truck puts on their blinker, make room. Since big rigs need extra space for driving and stopping, they may need to move into your lane to avoid debris in the road, another car, or a patch of ice. Let them over.

Be patient. Trucks and buses operate under different restrictions so it's always best to stay calm and wait. Honking, swerving, or driving aggressively isn't going to make your trip faster.

Be alert, and don't drive distracted. Accidents happen when we try to multitask while driving. The text message, phone call, and mascara can wait until you safely arrive at your destination.

Tips to share city streets with 18-wheelers

In addition to encountering big trucks on the interstates, we also share our city streets with them. They are responsible for getting the products we know and love into retailers and grocery stores, so let's be considerate and give them the room they need.

When you approach a big truck on the road, keep in mind that they may need a wide turning radius depending on which way they are turning. Give them the space they need to make the turn safely.

Stop and go traffic can present problems for big rigs as they require more room to stop. Do not cut in front of an 18-wheeler, the space they leave in front of them is necessary for stopping quickly if they need to. Lastly, it's also important to avoid no-zones while on city streets to avoid an accident just like on our interstates.

Although it's sometimes intimidating to drive next to big trucks, it's a necessary part of getting where we need to go. It's important to share the roads, and drive safely. 

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