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25.07.2017 - 16:34

Top Reasons to Drive Cautiously Around 18 Wheelers

Each day, whether we live in a big city or a smaller town, we share the road with 18-wheelers.

While a majority of truck drivers are dedicated to safety, fatal accidents involving a big rig still occur every year.


According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2015 (the most recent data available), there were 3,598 fatal accidents involving a large truck. No driver wants to become the next statistic in an accident. Here are some of the top reasons as to why it’s important to drive carefully around an 18-wheeler:


Big Truck v.s. Small Cars


Semi trucks are some of the largest vehicles on our roadways. A large truck is defined as a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more; a standard vehicle is about half that size. The average 18-wheeler measures about 80 feet in length, which is about five times the length of a standard automobile.


Without a doubt, semis are significantly larger than the cars we are used to driving. The size difference alone is a big factor to consider when driving in and around large trucks.


Trucks Need More Space

Thousands of motorists have the bad driving habit of tailgating. Not only is following too closely an aggressive move but it’s also dangerous. Large trucks need about 40 percent more space to come to a full stop than a standard vehicle.


Think about all of your close calls on the highway and needing to stop suddenly, now imagine trying to do the same while driving a vehicle fives times the size of your car. Keep your distance of about 30 feet, whenever possible.


Smaller Cars Are Hard to See

Many motorists assume that truck drivers have a better view of the road since they are positioned higher up. While they may have a great view of what’s ahead, it’s difficult to see cars behind them or on either side and even directly in front of them.


Even if you need to pass or merge, it’s important to learn to stay out of the “no zones” such as the blind spots. The more time you stay out of these dangerous zones, the safer you and the truck driver will be.


“Fatal Thursdays”

Truck drivers work hard and spend long hours on the road. By the end of the work week, they are often physically and mentally exhausted. Research reveals that Thursday is the deadliest day on the road for truckers and fatal accidents are more likely.


Why Thursdays? This day is especially problematic because it’s nearing the end of the work week and many truck drivers are in a hurry to finish up the job. Tight deadlines and feeling tired from a long week can affect reaction times and judgment overall.


Although an accident can occur any day of the week, take extra precaution around larger trucks near the end of the work week. Watch for any signs that may indicate that the driver is tired or even distracted and as always, keep a safe distance and report the driver if he or she seems to be a danger to other motorists.


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