The American Trucking Associations says there are 33.8 million commercial trucks registered in the United States for business purposes alone. Another 3.68 million Class 8 trucks are also operating at any given time. As you can see, from California to Florida and from New York to Tennessee, semi trucks are constantly making deliveries.
Whether you regularly drive the highways to commute to work or you’re just taking a lazy summer road trip, one thing remains the same: you’re sure to encounter truckers. To ensure your safety, as well as the safety of truck drivers, follow these three best practices:
Pass as quickly as possible. If you plan on passing a semi truck on the highway, always do so as quickly as possible. A truck driver has to deal with multiple blind spots and may have to switch lanes quickly to avoid a shredded tire or other debris. Don’t dilly dally; if you’re going to pass, do it and then get back over into the right lane.
Never cut off a semi truck. Which brings us to our next point. Once you pass a semi truck, make sure to get at least 30 feet in front of it before switching lanes again. Because of their weight and length, it takes a semi truck a significantly longer amount of time and distance to brake than an average passenger vehicle. Cutting off a truck driver can be extremely dangerous. Give yourself and the truck plenty of space.
Don’t pass on the right-hand side. We mentioned blind spots earlier, but the right side of a semi-truck is the biggest blind spot of all. A side mirror can only show so much road, and for a truck driver, it isn’t much. Not only does a trucker’s blind spot extend down the right side of the trailer, it can be as wide as three lanes. If you plan on passing at all, be smart and stay to the left.
By keeping these three simple tips in mind, you’ll look like a pro on the roads and keep your truck driving peers happy and danger-free. Stay safe out there, and happy travels!