We all can’t wait for that moment when we are first put behind the wheel. Or perhaps its the moment we get the keys to our very own first car. Whatever the reason, getting to drive is a huge deal, yet it seems like as we get older we take it for granted.
It becomes easy, over time, to assume that because you have learned the basics and proven you can safely operate a passenger car, you don’t need to really pay attention anymore. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth, especially if you are commuting over highways where you are often driving among big rigs.
Consider that there are over 2 million tractor-trailers traversing the roads today and it can seem as though there is one popping up to get in your way at just about every other leg of your journey. That’s why it is so important for passenger car drivers to be extra diligent.
The fact is, Amazon cannot yet deliver a chain saw through a drone, so until we get FAA regulations opening the door to such arrangements, trucks will still be on the road playing a critical role in the delivery of goods and services.
With this in mind, let’s take a deeper look at what passenger vehicle drivers must do to ensure they play their part in keeping the roads safe for everyone.
Give Them Space
You know how they say we all need some space? Well, big rigs especially need their space. An 80,000 pound Class 8 commercial motor vehicle (CSV) requires 550 feet to come to a safe complete stop from 55 mph. A mid-size sedan, by comparison, only requires approximately 180 feet to come to a complete stop from 70 mph. That’s why it is important to ensure big rigs are given plenty of room.
What is grillegating? Well, it is pretty much as it sounds. Imagine tailgating, but at the other end of the vehicle instead. More specifically, it’s when someone passes a big rig, then pulls in 25 feet in front of them going the same speed. This kind of behavior does not give the truck driver enough time to respond to an emergency should one occur. Always try to avoid cruising between two semi trucks that are only 100 feet apart.
Don’t Camp Near a Big Rig
If there is one thing that truck drivers would tell you they don’t miss it’s the propensity of random strangers in passenger cars to hang out beside the truck on highways. If you need to pass a big rig, get on with the passing move and then continue on down the road. There is no reason to hang out next to or behind a big rig and risk a collision of some type.
When Merging, Don’t Match A Semi’s Speed
When approaching and merging via a highway onramp, avoid matching the tractor’s speed. Whether your freight truck is speed limited or you simply need to perform better due diligence to ensure you aren’t sticking around. Leaving the large CMV in your rearview mirror will make everyone happy.
Always Pass On the Left
Whenever possible, ensure you are passing large tractor-trailers on the left side, even if it means waiting for a few extra moments in order to complete the move. Why? Because you don’t want to find yourself stuck between a tractor and the curb, wall or other obstruction should the CMV have to take any evasive action or make any sudden moves.
In the end, we could sit here all day and cover the different ways passenger vehicle drivers can ensure their safety and the safety of those around them, but at the same time we understand it is up to the truck driver as well. Safety, after all, is a two-way street.