How to drive safely around tractor trailers?

Sharing the road with commercial trucks may seem common to many Pennsylvania motorists. You may be familiar with navigating the roadways alongside large tractor-trailers; however, you may not realize the potential danger of these massive vehicles.

While having a well-trained and qualified truck driver to operate these road giants is critical, it is also important that you understand how to drive safely around tractor-trailers. Doing so may help prevent a catastrophic truck accident. Approximately 4,136 people were killed in accidents involving large trucks in 2018 along, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

What are the dangers of a tractor-trailer?

Weighing up to 80,000 pounds, tractor-trailers present a hazard to other motorists on the road. These dangers include the following:

• Improperly loaded trailers can shift and cause the truck to tip over

• Poorly maintained trucks may have brake or steering malfunctions

• Distracted, drowsy and drunk truck drivers

• Improperly trained truckers

• Bad weather causing trucks to slide and jackknife

The length, height and weight of large trucks make them targets for tipping over in high winds or if the truck driver does not know-how to operate the tractor-trailer properly.

What can you do?

There are certain steps you take to make sure you drive safely around large trucks. Tractor trailers have large blind spots, especially on the right side and behind the truck. Try to stay out of these blind spots by driving quickly around the truck, as truckers cannot see you if you are in these regions.

Since large trucks require a longer distance to slow down and stop, never pull out in front of a tractor-trailer and put on your brakes. Furthermore, trucks need plenty of room to make wide turns. Make sure to give them plenty of room to make turns when stopped at a traffic light or stop sign.

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