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Driving Near Big Trucks

Vehicle & Road Safety

In fatal crashes involving a car and a truck, the car occupants are far more likely to be killed. Driving mistakes around trucks can have tragic consequences.

In collisions, the sheer size of some trucks puts car occupants at a disadvantage. Many drivers are intimidated when they must share the road with large trucks, and not without reason. A manoeuvre by a car near a large truck may be more dangerous than the same manoeuvre near another car. Similarly, a large truck may perform a manoeuvre that carries low risk of a crash near another truck in the traffic stream, but a higher risk when performed near a smaller vehicle.

These are five driving behaviors that are factors in most of the fatal crashes:

  • failing to stay in the lane or running off the road;
  • failing to yield the right of way;
  • driving too fast for conditions or above the speed limit;
  • failing to obey signs and signals; and
  • driver inattention.

A few basic defensive driving habits could save a lot of lives:

  • Don’t change lanes abruptly.
  • Slow down to let trucks have the right of way.
  • Drive at a safe speed.
  • Stay alert to traffic signals and road conditions.
  • Use turn signals.
  • Never cut in front of a truck.
  • Avoid driving alongside trucks whenever possible – if you can’t see the truck driver’s face in the side mirror, he or she can’t see you.
  • Avoid tailgating.