Rules for drivers sharing roads with trucks

With all the last-minute shopping leading up to the Christmas holiday,  we’re going to focus on keeping you safe by posting “rules” for drivers sharing roads with trucks.

Rule #1. Stay out of the ‘No Zones.

Large trucks and buses have huge blind spots – or “No Zones” – around the front, back and sides of the vehicle. If you can’t see the driver in the truck’s side mirror, assume that the driver cannot see you. Don’t drive in a blind spot. Slow down or move ahead to stay visible. Be particularly careful when merging near a truck or bus. You may likely be in a blind spot.

Rule #2. Pass safely.

Make sure you can see the driver in the mirror before passing. Signal clearly, then move into the left lane and accelerate so that you can get past the truck or bus safely and promptly. Don’t linger in the blind spot. Make sure the truck or bus is visible in your rear mirror before you pull in front: give it extra space. Avoid passing trucks or buses on a downgrade where they tend to pick up speed. Never pass from the right lane. When a bus or truck is passing you, stay to the right and slow down slightly.

Rule #3. Don’t cut it close.

Provide trucks room to avoid crashes. Cutting in too close in front of another vehicle is always dangerous, but it’s especially dangerous to cut off a commercial bus or truck. If you move in quickly from either side, you’re likely to be in a blind spot so the driver may not see you in time. Even if you’re visible, the vehicle may not be able to slow quickly enough to avoid a crash because of the amount of time and distance it takes to stop.

Rule #4. Stay back.

Tailgating a truck or bus presents added dangers. First, it puts you in a blind spot or No Zone. Then, because trucks are so high off the ground, if you fail to stop in time (or get hit from behind) your vehicle could slide under the truck, with devastating results. Getting too close when stopped is also dangerous – particularly on an upgrade, where a bus or truck might roll back.

Rule #5. Anticipate wide turns.

Buses and trucks require extra turning room. Be aware that these vehicles sometimes swing wide to turn or may even initiate a turn from a middle (rather than far right) lane. If a truck or bus has its turn signal on, never try to squeeze by it or get between the vehicle and the curb.