Wherever you are, you have more than likely been on the same strip of blacktop as an 18-wheeler, whether on the daily commute to work or the much-needed road trip, a five-lane highway or a two-lane backcountry road.
These huge, sometimes mammoth, vehicles are the monsters of the road. It is best to have a heightened awareness when they are around. Even a healthy dose of respect does not keep a tired driver from swerving into your lane and crashing into your car. Keep your eyes peeled for trucks around you and take control of your safety.
- Give large trucks a lot of room
They have four blind spots, and if they cannot see you, there is the possibility of them moving into your lane. Also, be careful when maneuvering around a truck. Do not dart in front because you are in a hurry. On a good day, a truck driver needs well over 100 yards to stop — the length of two football fields.
- Remember 18-wheelers cannot turn on a dime
Sometimes it takes two lanes for them to make a turn. Give drivers the space needed to make that turn. A truck’s turning radius is 55 feet. Think about what it would take for an adult sperm whale to make a right turn. That should put it in perspective.
- When driving at night, take extra precautions
Trucks are still on the road even during the midnight hour, so there is a possibility the drivers should not be behind the wheel. Federal law gives truck drivers specific Hours of Service about when they can be on the road. Drivers have an 11-hour driving limit and have to be off the road for 10 consecutive hours. They must keep logbooks and present these to the authorities when asked.
Trucks and cars can share the road by being aware of each other. But accidents happen. It is inevitable. Be cautious. Be aware. Be in control of your safety.