If you drive often, you might spend a great deal of time on the highway. Perhaps you must brave rush hour traffic to get to and from work every day. Some individuals have been able to work from home during the pandemic, but you might have a job that requires you to be there in-person.
If so, you might feel comfortable driving. On the other hand, maybe it’s not your favorite thing to do. Either way, you need to practice safe driving techniques so that you get both to your job and home from work safely every day.
You have doubtless seen the big rigs and massive eighteen-wheelers that share the highway with you. They might be carrying just about anything. They may transport freight within your state, or perhaps the ones you see might be on their way across the country.
They’re so much larger than your vehicle, so you must treat them respectfully. Let’s go over some ways that you can avoid a commercial truck crash that could prove deadly for you and your passengers.
A Few Commercial Truck Facts
Before we launch into some safety tips for how you can interact with commercial trucks, here are a few interesting facts. You might not know this, but commercial trucks carry 72.5% of all the freight in the US. In 2020, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Association said there were 928,647 for-hire transport companies operating in America.
The US trucking industry also employs 7.95 million individuals, either as truckers or as support staff. It’s pretty clear what all of this indicates: the trucking industry is necessary, and it is a powerhouse. Without trucks, it would be challenging to stock store shelves across the country.
There’s also a good deal of trade between America and Mexico, and again, it’s trucks that make that possible. That is why, if you do encounter a commercial truck on the road, they may seem bulky and clumsy, but they need to be there. They’re part of what keeps America humming alone.
With that in mind, let’s get into some safety tips involving these highway juggernauts.
Keep Out of their Blind Spots
As we mentioned, trucks are so much larger than the average family vehicle. Even if you’re in a minivan or a station wagon, a truck is simply bigger and heavier than your car will ever be.
You know about your own vehicle’s blind spots, but commercial trucks have them too, and they are so much larger than yours. Trucks have them directly in front of them and also behind and to either side. On the sides, their blind spots are below their mirrors.
Just like you, a truck driver knows to check their blind spots before they attempt a lane change. However, it’s always possible that a careless driver might forget one time, or they might only glance in your direction without acknowledging you. That’s dangerous, but it does happen occasionally.
Your best way to avoid a collision is to stay out of a commercial truck’s blind spot whenever you can. Don’t tailgate a truck because the driver will not be able to see you. If you’re on either side or right behind a truck, distance yourself as soon as it’s possible to do so.
Don’t Act Aggressively with Truck Drivers
You also might have road rage issues. Some people do have them, and if you’re in this group, you must get these feelings under control. If you don’t, it can get you into trouble one day.
It’s never a good idea to flip off another driver, curse, or shake your fist at them under any circumstances. However, it’s an even worse idea if you’re getting into it with a truck driver.
Again, here is a vehicle that is so much larger than your own. If you get too demonstrative with a truck driver, you never know if they are having a bad day or not. Maybe your display of temper triggers one in them as well.
If that happens, then the next thing you know, they might run you off the road. You’d hope they would never do that, but everyone is human, and if you push a truck driver’s buttons, you never know what might happen. If a truck driver does something that upsets you, take a deep breath, count to ten, and distance yourself from them without retaliating.
Recognize an Impaired Truck Driver
Like regular drivers, commercial truckers know that they should not consume alcohol or drugs before they get behind the wheel. That does not always mean that they’ll follow those regulations, though.
You have no real way to tell whether any truck driver has imbibed or whether they’re using illegal or even prescription medication. All you can see is what the truck is doing.
If you ever see a commercial truck make a sudden lane change, drift into another lane, or swerve for no apparent reason, that’s a strong indication that you’re dealing with an impaired driver. If that happens, you should get away from them as fast as possible.
You should also try to get their license plate number. You can report them to the trucking company that employs them, or you can call 911 and report this incident to the local police. Doing so helps keep dangerous drivers off the road.
Truck drivers, because they operate such large vehicles, have even more of a responsibility than most drivers to follow all rules and regulations. If they ever do something unsafe, they put many lives in danger, especially if they’re acting that way during rush hour or another high-traffic situation.
As a smaller car’s operator, all you can do is treat these huge vehicles respectfully and stay safely out of their way as much as you can. They need to be out there because they drive commerce, but you would also hope that the truckers take their responsibilities seriously and won’t do anything that can harm you.