According to the Federal Motor Carrier Association’s “2017 Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics,” there were 480,000 crashes involving large trucks and busses in 2016. While that number is far smaller than the number of car accidents, crashes involving large trucks and busses can cause substantial damage to passenger-sized vehicles due to the massive size of these commercial vehicles.
“Large trucks and buses (commercial motor vehicles or CMVs) have operating limitations such as large blind spots, long stopping distances, and limited maneuverability that make it essential for other vehicles to put extra focus on safety,” according to the FMCSA. As the driver of a passenger-sized car, truck, or SUV, there are things you can do to avoid experiencing or causing an accident with a commercial vehicle, such as a semi-truck or bus.
Here are some suggestions from the FMCSA:
- Be aware that large commercial vehicles have major blind spots, also known as “No Zones.” These are located around the front, back and sides of commercial vehicles. Essentially, if you cannot see the driver’s face in the truck or bus’s side mirror, the driver cannot see you. One of the best ways to avoid a truck accident is to stay out of the truck’s blind spot.
- When you pass a commercial vehicle, make sure that you are able to see the driver in the side mirror before you pass. Use your turn signal and after moving into the left lane, accelerate so you can pass the truck (and get out of the blind spot) as quickly and safely as possible.
- If a truck or bus tries to pass you, don’t try to prevent them from passing. Instead, stay in the right lane and slow down a little so it’s easy for them to pass. By helping the driver pass you, it gets you out of their blind spot quickly.
- Never pass a semi-truck or bus while driving downhill, when it’s difficult for them to stop or slow down. Also, never pass a commercial vehicle from the right lane.
- Never “cut off” a semi-truck or bus, even if the driver is being aggressive or reckless. Remember, it’s not about who’s right or wrong, it’s about who’s left.
- Do not tailgate a truck or bus, no matter how slow they’re going. This places you in the “No Zone,” the blind spot. If the truck comes to a sudden stop, your vehicle can slide right under the truck.
- Remember, trucks make WIDE turns. If a truck is turning right, do not try to squeeze in between the truck and the curb to beat the truck driver to the turn.