Published On: Tue, Dec 16th, 2014

Little Car, Big Truck: Safety Tips for Driving Alongside the Big Rigs

We’ve all been there. You’re driving down the highway, and suddenly you pull up against a big rig. Or, you’re minding your own business and a semi flies right by you. It’s enough to make you swerve off the road just in time to have a heart attack. Here’s how to navigate safely when you’re forced to share the road with the big boys.

Safety Tips for Driving Alongside the Big Rigs

Always Pass On the Left, Drive On The Right

Most people today don’t obey basic rules of the road. For example, did you know that, on standard four-lane roads and freeways, the left lane is always designed for passing? You’ll see a lot of people using it as a cruising lane. Don’t do that. Always try to drive on the right lane and pass on the left. When you pass on the right, you enter into the rig’s blind spot and the truck may not see you. When you pull in front of a truck, always wait until you can see its headlights (and a bit of road) in your rearview mirror.

Never Tailgate a Truck

Never tailgate a semi-truck. They’re usually hauling a heavy load. If they have to stop suddenly, you could be caught off-guard. Also, driving too close to a semi will prevent the driver from being able to see you.

Many people have gotten into accidents this way. In fact, prior to laws mandating a lowered bumper guard for semi’s, people died from rear-end crashes with semis because the guard was high enough to sheer off the top of a lower vehicle – like a car. Since these laws have been in place, serious injuries resulting from rear end accidents have dropped off, however minor injuries still occur and sometimes come on gradually and are noticed days after the accident. Click here to learn more above a law firm’s perspective.

Never Stop Short In Front Of A Truck

Never stop short in front of a truck. Slamming on your brakes may not give the truck enough time to stop, as semis, especially those hauling cargo, have notoriously poor stopping times. You could be setting yourself up for a rear-end collision. In general, it’s best to keep your distance from a semi on the road, if you’re driving in front of one. Several car-lengths should be plenty, but you may need up to 10 or more in inclement weather.

Don’t Swerve Or Drive Erratically

Trucks can’t maneuver like you can. Don’t drive erratically, swerve in and out of lanes to get around them, or make truck driver’s nervous. You could cause an accident that way. Most truck drivers are highly skilled drivers, but their vehicles are inherently difficult to drive. Your best bet is to make slow movements when changing lanes around them, use your turn signals, and give them plenty of time to react.

Keith Kofsky, Esq. is an Attorneys at Law at a personal injury law firm in Philadelphia, PA. Mr. Kofsky is the sponsor of Philly Car Accident Guys. He enjoys sharing his legal ideas and insights through blogging.