There’s no question that drivers today are more distracted than ever and sharing the road with larger vehicles can be dangerous if you are not aware of their limitations. Drivers of large trucks have very limited visibility and large blind areas around them, which means they might not be able to see you.

Here are some other useful tips and common mistakes to avoid when driving near semi-trucks and tractor trailers.

When driving around large trucks:

  • Cutting in front can cut your life short. Trucks are slower at breaking, so never immediately cut in front of them. It can take over 500 feet for a fully loaded truck going 65 mph to come to a complete stop. As a good rule of thumb, wait until you can see both of the truck headlights in your rear-view mirror before moving in front of a truck.
  • Don’t brake suddenly or linger too closely. Riding too closely puts you at risk for the occasional rock chip, tire blowouts and high winds that can cause the truck to roll.
  • Avoid traveling alongside or close behind a truck. When following behind a truck, leave yourself 20 to 25 car lengths behind it. That may seem like a long distance, but large trucks obscure visibility far more than smaller vehicles.
  • Be sure to allow plenty of clearance for your vehicle and large trucks. Because of their size, large trucks create wind currents that can affect nearby vehicles. These currents can threaten your vehicle’s stability when you are close.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Do not text while driving and remember to use your signals, to prevent accidents and minimize injuries.
  • Take extra care when driving in adverse conditions. Consider the road circumstances and decrease your speed in the rain, smoke, or fog and take more caution when driving at night. A wet road can make it more difficult for your vehicle to stop and makes it extremely difficult for the driver to respond to a dangerous situation on the road.

Do your best to expect the unexpected, and remember, the best way to avoid an accident and keep you and your family safe is to drive cautiously and patiently.