If you’re like most drivers, you probably try to leave a reasonable distance between your vehicle and other vehicles on the road. However, when traffic is heavy or when you need to access a lane already occupied by other vehicles to merge or turn, you may have to get relatively close to someone else.
Being close to another vehicle is always risky, but when that other vehicle is a commercial truck, close proximity could drastically increase the amount of risk for a major crash. Why is this a more pressing danger with commercial trucks than for other vehicles?
Big vehicles are harder to maneuver and more dangerous in general
The drivers tasked with operating commercial trucks have to go through special training and more strident criteria than other drivers. Commercial trucks can do things like jackknife, which can pose an immediate danger to the vehicles very close to them on the road. They also make wide turns, which can be another risk.
If you’re too close, you might be in a blind spot
The extra height and length of commercial trucks directly contribute to the risk they cause for others on the road. Their size means that they have massive blind spots. One of the reasons that truckers often have large, extra mirrors attached to their cabs is because they cannot see vehicles driving in other lanes directly to their left or right. They also can’t see vehicles directly behind them. The closer you are to a truck, the more likely it is that the driver can’t spot you and could maneuver without realizing you’re there.
Giving trucks enough space on the road could help you reduce your risk, but you could still get in to a crash with one. If that happens, make sure you know your rights and be ready to take action to protect yourself.