Tractor-trailers can be intimidating. They are loud, large vehicles weighing up to 80,000 pounds, or possibly more if regulations are not followed by the trucking company. While many truck drivers handle their work professionally and have excellent safety ratings, stories of negligence leading to deadly tractor-trailer crashes are all too common.
When driving around big rigs, remember that they have incredible size and power, so they don’t have the maneuverability of smaller vehicles. If you don’t respect the limitations of these large vehicles, you may put yourself in a dangerous position.
For instance, if at all possible, don’t ride directly in front of a tractor-trailer or cut them off unexpectedly. At full speed and full weight, it can take up to 400 feet before a truck comes to a complete stop after braking hard. You don’t want to be within that distance if you can avoid it.
The length of a standard tractor trailer also makes turning a challenge. You’ve probably seen the warning label that says “This Vehicle Makes Wide Right Turns,” but cars colliding with trucks making one of those turns is a daily occurrence.
Aside from limited maneuverability, truck drivers must also contend with limited visibility as well. The blind spots for tractor-trailers are huge and extend 300 feet behind the trailer and couple lanes wide on either side. There’s even a blind spot in front of the truck cabin for about 20 feet due to the fact the driver and the hood of the vehicle are so high off the ground.
This can lead to accidents on the road, but also with pedestrians who are walking near tractor-trailers.