driving defensively

5 Essential Tips for Driving Defensively Around Big Trucks

Driving alongside big trucks can be an intimidating experience for many motorists, regardless of their experience level. Large trucks have a dangerous combination of massive size and limited visibility. However, with a few defensive driving strategies, you can ensure your safety and that of others while sharing the road with large vehicles. Here are our best tips for driving defensively around big trucks.

Give Space on Turns

Big trucks require plenty of space to complete turns, and they often need to swing wider to accommodate their length. Be aware of truck turn signals and give them plenty of room to maneuver. Never try to squeeze in between a turning truck and the curb or attempt to pass on the inside while a truck is turning.

Maintain a Safe Distance

One of the biggest rules of driving defensively, especially around big trucks, is to maintain a safe following distance. Trucks have larger blind spots compared to passenger vehicles, which makes it difficult for truck drivers to see cars directly behind or beside them. Always stay at least four to six seconds behind a truck and allow for extra space when driving at high speeds or in poor weather. This distance gives you enough time to react to any sudden maneuvers or stops.

Avoid the Blind Spots

Big trucks have significant blind spots that are much larger than normal vehicles. These blind spots include the areas directly behind the truck, by the driver’s door, and towards the rear. To make sure that the truck driver can see you, you should avoid lingering in these blind spots. When driving defensively, accelerate or decelerate to maintain a safe position where the truck driver can see you in their mirrors.

Pass Quickly and With Purpose

When passing a big truck, you should do so carefully but also without hesitating. Signal your intentions early, check your mirrors, and ensure there’s enough space to complete the lane change without getting too close in front of the truck. Trucks have longer stopping distances, so you should allow enough space when driving defensively. Once you’ve passed, give the truck plenty of room before merging back into the lane.

Be Patient and Predictable

Patience and predictability are key when sharing the road with big trucks and driving defensively. Avoid rapid changes in your driving, like sudden lane changes, or tailgating. Bad driving behaviors radically increase the likelihood of an accident. Signal lane changes in advance, brake gradually, and maintain a consistent speed to allow trucks to anticipate your actions.

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