Semitrailer trucks aren’t nearly as maneuverable as passenger vehicles, and they take a lot longer to stop. The Arkansas State Police advises motorists to avoid making these four common — and dangerous — mistakes near big trucks:
- Cutting off a truck in traffic or on the highway to reach an exit or turn, or cutting into the open space in front of a truck. This removes the truck driver’s cushion of safety. Trying to beat a truck to a single-lane construction zone, for instance, represents a particularly dangerous situation. Take a moment to slow down and exit behind the truck. It will only take a few extra seconds.
- Lingering alongside a truck when passing. Always pass a tractor-trailer completely and on the left side. If you linger when passing a truck, your position makes it impossible for the truck driver to take evasive action if an obstacle appears in the road ahead.
- Following closely behind a truck when you can’t see the truck driver’s rear-view mirrors. In this situation, there is no way the truck driver can see you. Tailgating a truck or car is also dangerous because you take away your own cushion of safety if the vehicle in front of you stops suddenly. Additionally, if the vehicle you’re following hits something in the road, you have no time to react before it hits the front of your car.
- Underestimating the size and speed of an approaching tractor-trailer. Because of its size, a tractor-trailer often appears to be traveling at a slower speed than it is. A large number of car-truck collisions take place at intersections because the driver of the car doesn’t realize how close the truck is or how quickly it’s approaching.