Sharing the Road with Tractor Trailers

large tractor trailer

Avoid The Danger

GEICO wants you to know how to be a safe driver as you share the busy highways with trucks, buses and large hauling vehicles. The information that follows is provided by the American Moving and Storage Association.

Most car-and-truck crashes are caused by the driver of the auto, and it's usually because the auto driver isn't paying attention to the truck driver's blind spot. Keep your passengers safe when driving around large trucks and buses; be extra cautious. Sharing the road with these large vehicles can be dangerous if you are not aware of their limitations.

Here are some driving tips for those situations: View as PDF (148K)

  1. Large trucks have blind spots called "No-Zones" around the front, back and sides of the truck. It is important to try and stay out of these "No-Zones" because the driver could possibly turn into your car if he can't see you. Remember, if you can't see the truck driver in the truck's mirror, the truck driver cannot see you.
  2. When attempting to pass a truck, make sure you can see the front of the truck in your rear-view mirror before pulling in front. Avoid flashing your headlights as a signal that you want to change lanes. Flashing your headlights is not a universal signal of anything. Some truck drivers think it's a signal for them to change lanes, or a warning that a policeman is up ahead. All you do when you flash your lights at a truck or bus driver is confuse him or her.
  3. Do not swerve in front of a truck or cause the driver to come to a sudden stop. It can take up to the length of a football field for a large truck to come to a complete stop. An 80,000-pound truck going 65 mph can take a full 300 feet to come to a stop after hitting the brakes.
  4. Avoid "Squeeze Play." Truck drivers sometimes need to swing wide to the left in order to safely negotiate a right turn, especially in urban areas. Drivers cannot see directly behind or beside them, so cutting in between the truck and the curb increases the possibility of a crash, or a "squeeze." Pay attention to truck signals and give them plenty of room to maneuver.
  5. Bus drivers with a full load of passengers may not slam on their brakes if a passenger car cuts them off. Given a choice between rolling over the car that just appeared in front of them or sending all of their passengers through the front windshield, the driver is likely to roll over the offending car.

Be attentive when driving near large trucks. Stay focused and alert to the road and other drivers around you. Avoid driving aggressively. Aggressive driving, especially in the blind spots of trucks, can create dangerous and potentially fatal situations on the road.

A last piece of advice that should go without saying: never drink and drive. Driving, especially around the "big rigs," presents enough danger to you and everyone else on the road.