Safe In 60: Know The ‘No Zones’ When Driving Around Big Rigs
Feb 17, 2020, 7:18 AM | Updated: 7:23 am
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – If you’ve ever felt impatient when you get stuck behind a big truck on the road, this story is for you.
It’s happened to most of us – we know it takes those big rigs longer to speed up and slow down. But our impatience could lead to a serious crash.
Over 250,000 crashes occur between cars and large vehicles each year, and most of the time the crash is the fault of the car, not the truck.
Many of these crashes could be avoided by keeping these points in mind. First, know the “no-zones.” These are blind-spot areas around the truck where the driver cannot see you.
- In front of the truck: A truck driver can’t see up to 20 feet in front of the cab, and they need a lot of space to stop, so never cut them off. At 65 mph, it takes a truck about 525 feet to stop, so you should allow one car length of distance between you and the truck behind you for every 10 miles per hour you are traveling.
- When passing, make sure you can see the whole front of the vehicle in your rear-view mirror before pulling back into the lane.
- Behind the truck: Truck drivers don’t have any rear-view mirrors – they must rely on their side mirrors. If you’re driving close behind a truck, they will not see you. When stopped behind a truck on a hill give them extra room
- Left/driver side: If you are driving in the lane to the left of the truck driver, the truck’s blind spot runs a little past the cab into the trailer.
- Right/passenger side: This is the largest blind spot for truck drivers. It is difficult for them to see anything along the length of the cab and trailer.
Next, know how much room a truck driver needs to turn.
- Right Turns: A large truck will often need to make the turn from the second lane in order to clear the curb. Pay attention. If a truck is taking up a couple lanes near an intersection, they may be preparing to turn right. Watch for the blinker, and fight that urge to squeeze into what may seem like an empty right lane beside the truck – you are putting yourself in their blind spot.
- Left Turns: Trucks need a lot of room to make a left turn as well. To be safe, when you are stopped at an intersection, stay behind the stop line so any large vehicles have plenty of space to turn without clipping your front bumper.
A good rule of thumb: If you can’t see the truck driver’s face in their side mirror, they cannot see you. Stay out of their blind spots. And when you feel that impatience rising – think about how much patience they must have with us. Give big rig drivers a break and give them some room.