Caution is the key to safe travel. The unpredictability of another driver’s next move calls for uninterrupted focus of your surroundings. This is particularly true when sharing the road with big, scary trucks.  This fear is well-founded, especially when it comes to driving alongside them.

Many highly experienced licensed truck drivers have spoken out about their experiences on the road and the dangers of parallel (alongside) cars. According to one truck driver, who has spoken publicly on his Reddit profile (username STPP), the areas directly next to the truck are referred to as “the kill zone”. STTP stated “Do not (and I can’t stress this enough) ride alongside a truck, ever”. Some examples, and tips to save your life, are:

  • If you are directly next to a truck, and the trucker needs to make a quick move to avoid an accident to ensure HIS safety, you will be in immediate danger. It is important to ensure, when preparing to pass a tractor trailer, that you have enough space to safely, and quickly, pass the truck in full.
  • Blind spots for tractor trailers are larger than for a car. With a larger body of a vehicle, the tractor trailer has limited vision of surrounding vehicles. If you cannot see the driver in their side mirror, assume that they cannot see you, either.
  • Tractor-trailers experience frequent tire blowouts.  In the event of a blowout, not only could the trucker lose control of the truck, but he may also have no choice but to make sudden moves to ensure his safety in the best way possible, which may mean swerving off the road- and into you.  Blowouts also can lead to flying and dangerous tire debris, which is another good reason to stay clear.
  • If you see skid-marks on the roadway ahead of you with a truck in near distance, take extra caution to keep ample amount of space between you and the truck. Even if the skid-marks are not from this particular tractor, it may be a warning sign that the road is difficult to operate for drivers.
  • If a truck has a turn signal on to move to the left lane, there’s likely a very good reason for it. For example, they may be trying to avoid a parked car or a police car in the emergency lane. Trucks also run on cruise control and tend to keep a constant speed, except on hills. If a truck is slowed down, it takes a lot more effort to get started regaining speed. Again, the driver is just trying to stay moving. Trucks take a lot more energy and time to do the same.
  • Another danger of a turn signal is that it can be misleading.  We have had cases where a truck moves to the left in order to make a tight right turn, and vice-versa.  If you’re passing on the right because you see the left signal, you may have just set yourself up to be cut off as the truck moves into its right turn.

While these tips and examples may be frightening, they can and do occur.  However, with a little education, you can keep safe. It is important to remember that truck drivers care about performing their jobs safely for not only themselves, but other drivers. To help ensure the safety of everyone on the shared roads, please drive cautiously and remember the dangers that can occur alongside trucks.

CutlerRader has extensive expertise in handling all types of vehicular collisions, including trucking cases.  We welcome your questions and comments, or if you’d like a free consultation, please feel free to contact us.