Driving for many of us is a part of our daily routine. We drive to work, to school, or to shop. There are others on the road who spend their days behind the wheel of a semi-tractor trailer. We depend on them to deliver everything from milk to gasoline, fruits and vegetables to meat and poultry. You name it, a truck brings it.

Give those 16-wheelers some room

The drivers work long hours in all sorts of weather. They depend on us to be courteous and share the road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some important safety tips from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, FMCSA, on sharing the road with those big rigs:

  • When passing, you need to see the trucker’s face in his side mirror. If you can’t see it, then he can’t see you. Don’t drive in a blind spot. Slow down or move ahead to stay visible.
  • After you have passed the truck, look in your rear view mirror to be sure that there is sufficient room between you and the truck before you move back into the lane. Trucks need extra room to accommodate you. According to Utah’s Department of Transportation, it takes nearly the distance of two football fields for a fully loaded (80,000 lbs.) tractor trailer to stop when traveling 65 mph. A car (3,000 to 4,000 lbs.) takes about the length of a football field to stop at 65 mph.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Perception of the distance, reaction time and the braking distance all contribute to how we manage a safe stop both as truck drivers and average drivers. Basically, it means all drivers must be aware of the road conditions and the vehicles around us.
  • Never pass a truck while going downhill. Trucks pick up speed on downgrades.
  • Tailgating in any situation is dangerous but it is especially so when behind a truck. You are in the truck driver’s blind spot or the NO ZONE. Trucks are higher off the ground, if you don’t stop in time or get hit from behind, you could end up sliding under the truck.
  • Never try to pass a truck on the right as it is turning right. Trucks need more room to turn; squeezing by or getting between the curb and the tractor trailer is dangerous. Semis have a turning radius of 55 feet. Give the truck driver room to turn.

These tips are for dry roads. Be especially careful when driving in wet weather. Passing a truck is more difficult as the road spray hits the car’s windshield, leaving you temporarily blind to conditions. When possible, get in the furthest lane from the truck to have clear sight ahead and beside on major roads.

Most of these tips also apply to driving alongside buses. They too need more room to stop and turn.

Be courteous, drive safely and share the road!