No one intends to get into severe traffic collisions, but major crashes happen all the time in Iowa and across the United States. Some of the worst collisions involve smaller passenger vehicles colliding with massive commercial trucks. Even if you do your best to safely share the road with these huge trucks, there's still the possibility of a crash any time you have to drive in close proximity with one.
Thankfully, there are ways that drivers can reduce their risk. Following a few common-sense safety tips can help you and your loved ones stay safe when you drive near commercial trucks.
Avoid the major truck blind spots at all times
The areas directly around commercial trucks are dangerous. Whether you're on surface streets or a highway, driving right behind, next to or in front of a truck could increase your risk of a crash. Make sure you understand where the "no zones" around a truck are and do your best to avoid them at all times.
Avoid driving to the left of a truck headed in the same direction as you from the driver's door to roughly the back of the trailer. You should also avoid the right lane next to a truck from the front of the cab to the rear of the trailer on the right for two lanes. If you're behind a commercial truck, give it at least 30 feet of space. Those driving in front of or merging in front of a commercial truck should give it at least 20 feet of space.
Watch for the warning signs of distraction
There are many forms of distraction, and not all of them have obvious outward signs. However, if you notice a trucker talking on a phone or texting, those are sure signs of distraction. A trucker who makes eye contact with you isn't watching the road, so that's a potential sign of risk as well.
If you notice evidence of distraction, try to get far away from the truck. You may even want to re-route and avoid driving close to the truck by getting off the highway or turning onto another street.
Be careful at intersections near commercial trucks
Big trucks take longer to stop and start. They also make wide turns. Ideally, you want to avoid stopping next to a commercial truck about to make a right turn. Give them plenty of space or stop several car lengths away to avoid a potential crash.
While nothing you do can totally mitigate the potential risk for a crash, observing these three rules can help you stay safer when you have to share the road with commercial trucks. Respect these massive vehicles, and be sure to give them plenty of space on the road and at intersections.