Five Mistakes Motorists Make Around Trucks

Five Mistakes Motorists Make Around Trucks

AAA lists the five things car drivers do incorrectly near trucks.

Car drivers tell us that trucks slow down the flow of traffic and are big and bullying.

Truck drivers say car drivers make their lives harder and often do dangerous things around them, not taking into account that a truck is a whole lot less manoeuvrable than a car and needs a lot more road to come to a stop.

To try and help car drivers stay safe around trucks and lighten the load for truckies, the American Automobile Association (AAA) published these five mistakes made regularly by motorists around heavy vehicles.

Failure to keep in lane

A big truck’s size and weight limits its ability to make emergency manoeuvres. Even if the truck could dodge a car making frequent or erratic lane changes, often the truck driver can’t see the offending vehicle.

Trucks have blind spots on both sides large enough to hide a car.

On the passenger’s side, the largest blind spot begins at about the middle of the trailer. On the driver’s side, a smaller blind spot lies between the drive wheels of the cab and the forward gear of the trailer, below the line of sight afforded by the mirror.

If you cannot see the truck driver’s head in his side mirror, then he can’t see you.

Failure to give right of way

Compared with cars, trucks take much longer to slow down and stop. Keep that in mind when attempting to merge in front of a truck on a highway entrance ramp.

Driving too fast for conditions

Speeding—either driving too fast for conditions or simply exceeding the posted limit, contributed to 12% of fatal car-truck crashes. Rain, snow, sleet or other precipitation affects traction, control on curves and stopping distance for you as well as for truckers.

Failure to obey signs and signals

Primarily an urban problem, red-light running has become something of a mini-epidemic. Some intersections average one violation every 20 minutes. Again, the enormous mass of a typical truck makes an intersection collision a no-win situation for a car running a light.

Inattention and driver distraction

Car drivers simply not paying attention to their driving accounted for 9% of the cases studied.

Although mobile phone use in cars has come under scrutiny by lawmakers and the public in recent years, distraction also comes in many other forms. Eating, texting, tuning the radio, attending to children or just daydreaming behind the wheel also create hazardous situations.

Driving too slowly, missing signals or neglecting a truck’s brake lights can prove deadly. If something in the car requires your immediate attention, pull into a parking lot or rest stop.

Got any other tips on how cars and trucks can more safety share the roads? Email us via [email protected] or use the Contact page.

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