The fully loaded commercial or owner operator truck is over 20 times heavier than the average car. This places a heavy burden on the truck driver to avoid accidents because of the massive destruction possible with such a vehicle. However, this enormous weight advantage doesn’t make the semi truck invulnerable to the road dangers posed by the average car. A rollover, going off the road, or a fire can cause serious harm to the truck driver.
Unfortunately, many motorists don’t know how to drive around commercial trucks. Part of the problem is a lack of education, which causes motorists to treat trucks as though they were other cars. As a result, truckers must drive defensively and be watchful of these four bad driving habits of motorists:
Passing on the Right
This can happen while making right turns at intersections. The best defense against a car passing you on the right while you’re making a right turn, is to start the turn from the rightmost lane and drive further out into the intersection until your trailer wheels clear the corner before turning right. Never start a right turn in the left lane because cars will attempt to pass you on the right.
Cruising in Your No Zones
Cruising in the blind spots of a commercial truck is dangerous, but many motorists aren’t aware of this. Sometimes heavy traffic can make it unavoidable. Signal well in advance before changing lanes, and make the change slowly so that any vehicle that you may have missed has enough time to move out of the space.
Cutting You Off
Motorists often allow the commercial or owner operator truck the same clearance that they would for another car. This occurs because motorists are unaware of the truck’s greater braking distance. Your best defense against this is to always maintain a lengthy following distance, especially in stop-and-go traffic. With a large space in front of you, hurried motorists will likely change lanes further ahead of your rig.
This occasionally happens when a motorist lacks the patience to wait for your slower accelerating truck to get up to speed. Always scan your side mirrors so that these drivers won’t take you completely by surprise. It may prevent an accident.