Accidents with large trucks accounted for over two thousand deaths in 2016. By remembering to drive safely around large trucks, you can help to protect yourself.

In the summer of 2018, a compact car cut in front of a large truck on the Manatee County bridge while traveling down I-75. To avoid a crash, the driver of the truck swerved, and the cab of his truck ended up dangling over the guard rail. Luckily, he survived.

With cars becoming more compact and the demand for shipped goods growing, it is paramount that drivers remember to take extra caution around large trucks.

Unexpected dangers

You will likely drive around large trucks in narrow city streets as well as wide open highways. Each of these areas need special attention, such as the following:

  • In a busy urban area, stop a few feet behind the near-edge of the crosswalk at an intersection (about four feet from the edge of a median or the sidewalk). Trucks have wide turn radii and can easily clip the “nose” of your car
  • When following a truck around a corner in an adjacent lane, give at least ten feet between your car’s nose and the nearest corner of the truck
    • A truck’s heavy load, especially if it is carrying a liquid, can cause the back end to drift over into your lane

Federal recommendations

In addition to the tips above, remember the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s tips for driving around large trucks.

  • Stay out of blind spots
    • Keep an eye on the driver in their rearview mirror
    • A truck’s hood often sits several feet higher than the top of a compact car
    • Stay back at least 30 feet from large trucks
  • Only pass on the left
    • Trucks can only go certain speeds on highways, which may tempt you to pass early
  • Don’t cut in front of trucks
    • It takes a large truck travelling 65 mph the length of two football fields to stop
    • Wait until you can see the top of the cab in your rearview before merging into their lane

Remember these tips and all federal, state, and local driving laws to stay safe while travelling.