Every day on your way to work, or on your weekend trip to the Badlands or Devil’s Tower, you more than likely are sharing the road with large semi-trucks. You may feel intimidated when one approaches you or you pass one, hoping that the driver sees you and doesn’t make any sudden movements.

It’s no secret that when a large semi-truck is involved in an accident, the results can be catastrophic. In 2018, 4,862 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents, representing a 51% increase since 2009. Most of the time, when a large truck is in a serious crash, those traveling in smaller vehicles are the ones to suffer severe injuries or die.

Steps to take to drive safely alongside trucks

If you want to avoid becoming involved in a deadly truck accident, you can take the following safety steps:

  • Only pass on the left side of a semi-truck and always use your signal before passing.
  • Maintain a four-second distance between your vehicle and the large truck. You want enough time to react if the truck has a tire blowout or makes a wide turn so you can avoid running into it.
  • Avoid staying in a truck’s blind spot (on the right side) or directly behind the trailer. You want the truck driver to know you are nearby, and a trucker behind the wheel can’t see these areas well.
  • Pass the semi quickly, moving closer to the road shoulder to give more space between your vehicle and the truck.
  • Don’t have your high beams on when you approach a semi at night. The reflection from bright headlights can blind a truck driver.
  • Don’t cut off a large truck when merging. Heavy semis can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. With increased vehicle weight, truck drivers need more space to stop – sometimes up to 200 feet – to avoid rear-ending someone.
  • Avoid distracted driving and driving drunk. Instead, always keep aware of your surroundings so you can respond quickly if a dangerous road situation develops.

Believe it or not, car drivers cause about 80 percent of accidents between large trucks and cars. So, you have more control over your safety than you may realize. By following these easy driving tips, you’re more likely to arrive at your destination safely and avoid a devastating accident.