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Safely share the road with large trucks

Driving next to a semi can be nerve-racking. Here's how to do it safely.

Truck in side mirror

Do you clutch the wheel a little tighter as you pass a semi or other large trucks? You're not alone. Semis and large trucks navigate the roadways differently than other vehicles. Learning what they need — and what you can do — can help you safely share the road with large trucks.

What's different about driving large trucks or semis

Drivers of heavy trucks face a few difficulties on the road, including:

  • Reduced field of vision. Truck drivers have multiple blind spots on both sides, in front of and behind their trucks.
  • Longer stopping time. A large truck's size and weight increases its stopping distance. For example: If large trucks are going 65 miles per hour, they could need up to 200 yards — nearly the length of two football fields — to stop.
  • Slower reactions. Most vehicles can merge quickly. Large trucks can't because of size.
  • Wind vulnerability. Semis have a lot of surface area, making them harder to control when the wind picks up.
  • Wide turns. Large trucks need plenty of room to make turns — especially right turns.

What you can do

Follow these tips to safely share the road with large trucks:

  • Pass safely. Always pass on the left — the blind spot is smaller on this side—and maintain a steady speed.
  • Give them space. Keep a safe following distance — four seconds or more — between you and large trucks to help avoid dangerous situations, such as sudden stops (and subsequent rear-ending), a truck rollover in high wind, a tire blowout or a wide truck turn. Note: If you can't see the trucks mirrors, they can't see you.
  • Be aware. Stay alert at all times, and keep your proximity to large trucks in mind as you share the road. In a smaller vehicle, you can maneuver more quickly which can help you stay out of danger.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.



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