Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry


Safety Tips for Driving Alongside Tractor-Trailers


Safety Tips for Driving Alongside Tractor-Trailers

As a big rig driver, it’s common to get asked to reveal some of the craziest stories of other drivers on the road. Unfortunately, all too often there are many safety concerns when it comes to sharing the road with semi tractor trailer trucks that can make these stories more concerning than entertaining. For this reason, we’re working with everyday drivers to share some great safety tips that can be used when driving alongside bigger vehicles to ensure the safety of both vehicles.

Blind Spots

Dangerous driving around trucks starts with a vehicle being in the trucker’s blind spot. While there are several semi vs. car collision scenarios where a truck accident attorney can place the blame squarely on trucker negligence, many incidents begin with a motorist getting into the trucker’s blind spot. We’re sure you’ve experienced a moment where you thought it was a good idea to change lanes only to hear a horn honking and suddenly realize there’s a car coming up in your blind spot. In a larger vehicle, the blind spot can be even bigger. For this reason, it takes effort on both driver’s parts to ensure the blind spot is avoided. This means car drivers taking the blind spot into consideration and truck drivers taking a few extra moments to double check for cars before switching lanes.

Passing a Big Rig

Passing big rigs may be a necessity from time to time depending on the flow of traffic. To ensure safe travels, it’s a good idea to first signal the turn. Give it a few moments and then start to pass. Be sure to maintain a consistent speed when passing a semi-truck. You never want to linger in the side lane next to the big rig as this is a potential blind spot for the big rig driver. It’s also a good idea to identify if the big rig driver is visible in their side mirror. If you can see them, it’s likely they can look back to see you.

Give Big Trucks Enough Time to Stop

If you’ve ever driven a bigger vehicle, you know that they don’t stop on a dime. In fact, loaded semis take about 20-40 percent longer to stop than the average automobile. This means they’re going to need a bigger cushion of space between the car in front of them than an average driver would need. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to stay a safe distance away from the front of the big rig. This includes when passing the rig, make sure you’re giving it a good bit of cushion. You never want to cut it really close as the big rig may not stop in time if they’re going faster than you anticipated.

Anticipate Wide Turns

It’s no surprise that bigger vehicles make wide turns. Anticipating the amount of space a big rig driver is going to need to turn can help you to position your vehicle at a safe distance. It’s common for truck drivers to utilize both the middle lane and the turning lane when in confined areas. It’s never a good idea to try and sneak into the turning lane as you may be putting yourself in the blind spot for the big rig. Instead, simply let the rig use both the lanes and take the wide turn to ensure the safety of both vehicles on the roadway and the property at the intersection.

Be Educated and Know How to Drive around Big Rigs

Being safe on the roadway starts with understanding more about big rigs and how they operate. Knowing what to expect on the roadway when driving near a big rig can help both drivers to better navigate around one another. Be sure to understand the above safety tips and start implementing them in your daily driving.


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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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