How to Safely Drive on the Same Road with Semi Trucks
In Texas, 18 wheelers (semi trucks) are a common site and on I-35, they seem to travel in droves. Here are some tips to help keep you and your family safe when driving on the same road as a semi truck in Texas.
Recognize Their Blind Spots
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration advises that if you can’t see the driver’s face in the side-view mirror, you are in the truck’s blind spot. Here are the most dangerous areas to drive when next to a semi truck:
Anywhere up to 20 feet in front of the semi truck
- Anywhere up to 200 feet behind the semi truck
- Anywhere on either side of the truck
Pass Them Quickly
It is recommended for drivers to always try and pass semi trucks on the left and to pass them quickly, avoiding the potential of being stuck in a blind spot. On some sections of highways in Texas, trucks are prohibited from using the farthest left lane (when there are three or more lanes). Because of this rule, it’s safer to pass trucks on the left using the fast lane. When you pass a truck, don’t move back into the other lane until you can clearly see the semi truck’s headlights in your rearview mirrors.
Remember Trucks Make Wide Turns
Drivers of semi trucks usually have to swing the vehicle out and back in to make a turn. When turning corners, the driver can only see his trailer, meaning any other vehicles next to the driver are in a blind spot. Do not try to pass a semi truck while it’s making a turn because the driver cannot see you in time to avoid hitting you. Be patient and let the truck safely make its turn. It’s worth your life.
Understand a Semi Truck’s Limits
Most semi trucks have speed limiters on them, which means the drivers cannot go faster than a set maximum speed. The maximum weight allowed for a United States semi truck and trailer is 80,000 pounds and the engines in semi trucks often weigh more than small cars. When a semi truck is going uphill, it is bound to slow down because it’s dragging so much weight. When you see two semi trucks traveling at the same pace, it often means that one was trying to pass the other. However, if the trucks are going uphill, it may slow down the passing semi truck to the speed of the other semi truck. While this is frustrating for drivers, a long haul driver explains that it is just as frustrating for the truck drivers.
While it may be frustrating to have to share the road with a sea of semi trucks, it is important to know how to safely drive around them. Use these tips to be a safer driver when you’re on the road with semi trucks.
If you’ve been injured in an accident with a semi truck, contact Colley & Colley law firm in Tyler, Texas for a free consultation. Our expert legal knowledge and years of experience will help you in a situation of dire need where you are seeking justice and compensation for your particular case.