8 Tips for Driving Safely Near Trucks

October 30, 2021

Taking extra precautions when driving around trucks is essential.

According to the NYPD report on accidents, there have been about 690 accidents caused by heavy commercial vehicles in September 2021 alone.

It would help if you were more cautious because these vehicles are large and may take time to stop in an emergency.

The trucks have more prominent blind spots, increasing the risk of an accident. However, with the skills from our driving school, you don’t have to panic.

Keep reading to find out some of these tips that will keep you safe around trucks.

Let’s get started.

1. Keep a Reasonable Distance

If you are on a highway where you can’t avoid trucks, make sure you keep the distance between your car and the truck, a four-second distance is recommended for every 46 to 70 mph.

When you keep a short distance, the chances are that the truck driver won’t see you. 

The reason why you need this distance, especially as a new driver, is because you might be unable to stop immediately, and it could cause a tragic accident.

A reasonable distance allows you to have enough time to react to tire blowouts and any rollover caused by high winds.

When driving in front of a truck, consider changing your lane if possible.

2. Keep Away from Blind Spots

Trucks have greater blind spots than small vehicles, so don’t be deceived by their wide side mirrors and the high level above the ground.

The wide side mirrors of the truck are affected by bright headlights. Reducing your lights to a standard beam when approaching these trailers will help reduce the blinding of the driver.

Since we all want to reach our destinations safely, learn to keep a distance from the blind spots.

Which are the four main blind spots?

  • 20 feet or less at the back of the truck.
  • 30 feet or less behind the truck
  • The driver’s left side under the cab mirror
  • The extension of the right side under the cab mirror

Ensure that the truck driver sees you through the side mirrors; you can also move ahead of the trailer. Signal the driver early enough before passing the truck.

3. Be Patient Enough

We all know that trailers can be extremely slow, and therefore you need to be patient with them especially when driving on a highway.

With your small car, you can maneuver through traffic more efficiently than trucks; being respectful will help keep yourself and others safe when around trailers.

Truck drivers have strict rules to follow, such as speed limit. Avoid too much honking unless there is an emergency, it will only distract the truck driver, and the next thing will be an accident.

4. Keep Focus

Distractions are hazardous to all drivers. Avoid engaging in activities that keep your eyes away from the road.

The most common distraction is mobile phones; most people are guilty of using phones while driving.  

Remember, you need to keep your hand on the wheel for safe driving. If there is something that you must look at, pack your car until you complete your business.

If you are on vacation and are not familiar with the roads, keep your eyes on the road, the GPS could do you more harm than good. You might be using some of the dangerous roads in New York.

5. Leave Room for Wide Turns

Trucks need more space when making their turns. 

For example, for a semi-trailer truck to make a left turn, more space is needed as it needs to make a broader swing to the right than the small cars or passenger vehicles. Some of them begin making their turns in the middle of the lane.

If you are stopping near a junction, ensure that your car is far from the line to give more space to turn trucks.

An attempt to pass a truck with a signal turned on should be the last thing on your mind. Never drive between a truck and a curb.

6. Safe Passing

Safe passing is something you should practice. The best time is during your driving classes, where your instructor has pedals on his side to help you control the car.

Safe passing skill is more critical when you are near trucks because they take time to stop.

The truck driver must adjust the brakes and speed accordingly, which may take additional time compared to passenger vehicles.

Approach trucks on the left side; here, the driver can see you. Make sure you signal the driver early enough, and a consistent speed is good during the safe passing.

After passing the truck and trying to get back to your lane, make sure that you can see the truck through your rearview mirror for a safe distance.

If a truck overtakes you, slow down to allow enough space between you and the truck.

7. Fasten Your Seat Belt

Wearing your seat belt is a driving law in New York City. The belt keeps you safer in case of an accident.  

When behind trucks, remember to use the approved car seat when you have kids at the back of the car. The kids should be well buckled up on their seats.

Your brakes should be functioning well to avoid crashing.

8. Don’t Drive When Sleepy

Feeling sleepy when driving maybe because of fatigue. You may be unable to take fast action when you are tired. 

When exhausted, the risk of driving is higher when you are around trucks; closing your eyes for one second may land you under the truck.

Get off the road and rest, especially if you take a long-distance journey; you will keep alert for safe and defensive driving.

Final Word

Other than observing the above tips when driving along with trucks, remember to observe other traffic rules, such as the traffic lights. We know that not everybody drives well; make sure to check those around you too. Book a lesson at our school for the best driving experience.

Taking extra precautions when driving around trucks is essential.

According to the NYPD report on accidents, there have been about 690 accidents caused by heavy commercial vehicles in September 2021 alone.

It would help if you were more cautious because these vehicles are large and may take time to stop in an emergency.

The trucks have more prominent blind spots, increasing the risk of an accident. However, with the skills from our driving school, you don’t have to panic.

Keep reading to find out some of these tips that will keep you safe around trucks.