Even under ideal conditions, large commercial trucks can pose a serious risk to others on the road thanks to their large size, significant blind spots and often awkward loads. Truck driver fatigue, distraction or inattention can increase those risks greatly.
That makes it essential that auto drivers take special care when sharing the road with oversized vehicles.
1. Large trucks take longer to stop
The average fully-loaded tractor-trailer truck may weigh as much as 40 tons. It takes much more braking power and a much greater distance for large trucks to come to a complete stop. Motorists should make sure to leave ample space when driving either in front of or behind a large truck and avoid making sudden turns or lane changes.
2. Tractor-trailers have limited maneuverability
Extra-long vehicles like tractor-trailers often need to swing wide when making a turn, possibly even taking up multiple lanes. Drivers should take note of active turn signals on oversized trucks, especially when passing or approaching an intersection.
3. Oversized vehicles have reduced visibility
Large commercial vehicles have significant blind spots on all four sides. Auto drivers should try to avoid traveling in the lanes immediately to the left and right of large trucks. Motorists should also maintain a following distance of about 30 feet and pay special attention when a truck operator is preparing to turn, change lanes or back up.
4. Driver and/or mechanical failures pose extra risk
Commercial truck drivers often keep intense schedules that may lead to fatigue and prevent them from properly maintaining equipment or securing large loads. If another driver notices any sign that an oversized vehicle, its operator or its cargo poses a traffic risk, it is a good idea to maintain maximum distance and stay alert.