How to Drive Safely Around Semi-Trucks

Record number cargo volumes were reported in 2017 and make Savannah one of the nation’s most bustling ports in the nation. With this growth and the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, the I-16 corridor will continue to grow more congested with commercial trucks.

In 2015, of the 32,166 fatal crashes on the nation’s roadways, 3,838 (11.9 percent) involved at least one large truck or bus, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics.

While driving through our congested corridors near Savannah, practice these safety measures to avoid being in an accident with a commercial truck.

Don’t follow too closely behind a commercial truck.  The rule of thumb is that if you cannot see his rear view mirror, the driver does not see you. If you can see his FACE in the mirror, you are at a good following distance. Also, more distance is better in terms of your ability to stop in an emergency. Give yourself more space when it is dark, raining, heavily congested or when you are in a construction zone.

Watch for his signals.  Large trucks take up a lot of space when they make turns.  When a truck is going to make a wide right turn, he has to swing out to the left. An unaware driver trying to pass on the right will be in jeopardy as the truck driver swings right again.

Consider the long stopping distance needed. Think about the truck as being the weight of an ocean liner having to create massive energy to move down the road.  It can’t maneuver “on a dime.”  What often happens is the truck driver leaves plenty of space around his vehicle and a smaller vehicle feels tempted to make a quick lane change to exit off a ramp.  The driver of the car cuts the trucker driver off and finds out the hard way that trucks need extra space and time to fully stop.  When you pass a semi-truck, look to see the entire front of the truck in your mirror before returning to the right lane.

Be courteous to the bigger guy.  If a truck or bus tries to pass you, don’t try to prevent them from passing. Instead, slow down a bit, stay in the right lane so they can pass. By helping the driver pass you, it gets you out of their blind spot quickly.

Don’t Tailgate.  No matter how slow they are going, do not tailgate a truck or bus. This places you in the “No Zone,” the blind spot. If the truck stops suddenly, your vehicle can slide right under the truck.

Drive Defensively. Always look out for the other truck driver. Be aware that a blinker only means that it is working.

Do you need a truck accident attorney?  Contact Friedman and Martin at 912-232-8500.