We may not have taken advanced physics in high school, but we all recognize the danger that comes when we drive a small sedan or even a mini-van and share the road with a massive eighteen-wheeler.
These vehicles can weigh from 35,000 pounds empty to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. This translates to a massive force when moving at highway speeds. If this vehicle cannot complete a stop before a collision, that force is transferred to whatever it hits.
This means anyone in its way can face serious, often catastrophic, injuries.
So, those of us that see these massive big rigs on the road and have a moment of pause are not overly cautious but wise. We can take this wisdom a step further and take steps to reduce the risk that our vehicle is involved in a crash with one of these trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has dug into the issue and put together a document of tips to reduce the risk of a crash. Some of the more helpful tips include:
- Know where you are. The driver of a big rig does not have the same visibility that you do. Know where you are in relation to the truck and try to stay out of its blind spots. If the driver can see you, they will work to avoid you. Keep the same in mind when passing a truck, try not to cut it too close.
- Practice patience. This is a good general rule but holds especially true when navigating traffic with commercial trucks. These drivers are often operating under various restrictions, which could include speed limitations. Try not to get too frustrated if the truck seems slow compared to the rest of traffic.
- Recognize the truck’s limitations. As noted above, they do not stop quickly so give them plenty of space. Also, note that they make wide turns. Give extra space to accommodate the need for more room if coming up to an intersection or traffic circle.
The remainder of tips are basic rules of the road: do not drink and drive or drive distracted and make sure to buckle up. When we put all of these tips together we can greatly mitigate the risk of a dangerous and potentially deadly crash.