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Driving safely near transport trucks

Posted April 1, 2024 by Fanshawe Driving School

As a new driver, things can seem intimidating when we first encounter it, including driving near transport trucks. As any new driver, we should respect other road users, including those who drive large trucks, and give them as much space as possible. The following are guidelines to help you drive safely while near larger trucks.

Some of the hidden dangers are transport trucks with large, covered trailers. No one would know if the trailer was empty or full. A full trailer makes the vehicle heavier, and that added weight would mean it takes longer for the truck to come to a complete stop. Because we don’t know if the trailer is empty or loaded, we should give them extra space and time to respond to your brake lights whenever you are directly in front of them. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

To let the driver know you’re behind them, you should see the driver’s side mirror of the truck. If that mirror is not visible to you, they most likely can’t see your vehicle. If you can’t see their mirror, gently reduce speed until you can. Increasing your following distance to see their mirror will also help you look further up the road and can help you see potential problems ahead of time to respond to them.

There’s also a blind area on the front right side of the transport truck. Avoid staying near the side of a vehicle that size, especially that side. The driver may not have noticed you move up near the front of their truck. If the driver of that truck had to switch lanes quickly, you would be in a position to be involved in a collision with them. If you are beside the transport truck, pass them safely and quickly.

Another area to avoid is immediately in front of the truck. If you began braking unexpectedly, the truck driver would not necessarily see your brake lights. Try to keep additional space between your vehicle and the truck behind you by either accelerating to move ahead of them or changing lanes. If you can’t see the truck’s windshield in your rearview mirror, that’s a sign that you need to move away.

Before changing lanes in front of a large truck, you need to know if there is enough room to do that without causing the driver to slow down. You may need to accelerate to ensure you can change lanes safely.

Plan your route so you can do lane changes early and avoid having to do so at the last moment. Begin this process by looking well ahead to know where you should be in the upcoming few blocks. It would help you to know if you should change lanes now or later. Staying in their blind spots for a long time can make it difficult for the truck driver to navigate their route safely.

We must remember that a truck passes other vehicles in the middle lane on a three-lane expressway. If a transport truck is approaching you from behind while you are in the middle lane, change lanes to the right lane well before they reach you. It will show proper courtesy that the drivers of trucks will appreciate.

Working together with drivers of transport trucks is something all drivers need to do, regardless of the experience you have. To learn more about safe driving, contact Fanshawe Driving School and book your lessons now!

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