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How to Pass a Truck Safely

How to Pass a Truck Safely
Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

Previously, we outlined a truck’s blind spots, also called its “no-zone.” While everyone on the road should understand a truck’s visual limitations, it’s equally important that drivers of smaller vehicles use their understanding of the no-zone to pass trucks safely. Here’s how:

Approaching

Remember that many trucks drive under the speed limit, especially on highways. If you realize you’re quickly approaching a semi-truck, know that they’re probably not going to speed up. Therefore, you should try to change lanes as soon as it is safe to do so.

If you get too close to a truck before changing lanes, you could enter their rear blind spot and go unnoticed as you pass from one section of the no-zone to another. The best way to prevent this is by beginning the lane change well in advance of reaching the rear blind spot.

Passing

Once you begin passing a truck, you should commit to it and complete the pass without delay. Once you’re alongside a truck’s trailer, there’s a good chance you’re in their blind spot. If you linger next to a truck or keep pace with them but don’t pass them, the truck driver may not realize you’re there and may attempt to change lanes into you.

While some semi-trailers are equipped with turn indicators on their sides, many are not. If a truck driver attempts to change lanes, you may not realize what’s happening until their cab drifts across the dotted line. At that point, you may be forced off the road or wind up in a much more serious crash.

Merging

Remain cautious even after you’ve passed the front of the truck. Remember that the no-zone extends 20 feet in front of the truck’s hood. If you pass and immediately merge in front of a truck, the driver may be unable to see your brake lights, or they may not see you at all.

The best way to prevent getting rear-ended by a truck is to provide a few extra car lengths before merging back into the truck’s lane. You should be able to see the entire truck in your rearview mirror prior to merging back. That will ensure you’re out of the truck’s blind spot and that the driver can anticipate your movements before you change lanes.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries or even wrongful death in a trucking crash, we are here for you. To schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Walnut Creek personal injury attorney from Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (925) 275-5592 or send us an email.
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