Driving alongside semi-trucks, buses and other large commercial vehicles is a daily part of driving. Whether you are driving to work, dropping the kids off at school, heading to the grocery store or more, you are bound to encounter large commercial vehicles across Pennsylvania roadways.
Yet, given the everyday implications of driving alongside large vehicles, many drivers fail to consistently exercise safe driving techniques. To keep you and others on the road safe, here are five tips for driving safely alongside commercial vehicles:
Understand when the driver can't see you
Blind spots of semi-trucks and other large vehicles differ substantially from those of a passenger car. Always ensure the driver can see your vehicle. A good general rule to remember is that if you cannot see the driver in the vehicle's side mirrors or the side mirrors at all, your vehicle is likely not visible to the driver.
Give more space to pass or merge
If you need to pass and enter a driver's blind spot, clearly signal your move so that the driver has time to see. Then, quickly and safely pass the vehicle. Merging can be dangerous too, especially on busy roads or highways. Be patient and avoid cutting a truck or bus off, as large vehicles can take longer to brake when necessary.
Getting stuck behind a slow-moving truck or bus can be frustrating, especially in busy traffic. However, acting rashly and tailgating, speeding or frantically passing a commercial vehicle can be dangerous. Avoid aggressive driving and patiently wait for an opportunity to safely get around the vehicle.
Allow drivers room to turn
Any large vehicle needs more space to make turns. Be cautious at intersections and anticipate wide left and right turns. If a truck or bus in front of you signals a turn, give them enough space and avoid turning yourself until it is safe to do so. Take extra care to avoid being in the blind spots or path of a turning truck.
Adjust your driving for the circumstances
Any out-of-the-ordinary conditions can force truck drivers to adjust their driving. Whether due to heavy traffic, roadwork, poor weather, hilly roads or more, be mindful that while the conditions may not significantly affect your driving, they may pose risks or changes for larger vehicles. Drive defensively and be patient.