Are you afraid of being on the road with big-rig trucks?

If so, you aren’t alone. A lot of drivers are understandably nervous about being on the road with a lot of 18-wheelers around. However, they’re going to be out there — which means that you need to know how to drive safely around them.

Here’s some good advice you can follow:

1. Understand what makes a large truck dangerous

You may think that your biggest danger is a tired trucker — but the real danger is from the truck itself.

Large trucks present significant dangers to ordinary vehicles for a variety of reasons:

  • They’re bigger and heavier than regular passenger vehicles, which means they’ll cause more damage if they collide with a car.
  • Large trucks create a lot of debris. Dust, soot, water spray, mud and even air can easily blind a driver or create difficult conditions in which to navigate a lightweight vehicle.
  • They have numerous blind spots. It’s impossible to pass one without riding in and out of blind spots as you go. A third of the accidents involving trucks are due to issues with blind spots.
  • They can’t stop easily. The increased weight of a large truck makes it impossible to stop easily. The amount of room it takes to stop a big rig can be an unpleasant surprise.

Being aware of the problems trucks have on the road allows drivers to more appropriately judge the real dangers they face.

2. Cultivate patience behind the wheel

Observation and understanding of the most serious threats you face from a big rig only help so far. The other thing you really need to do is cultivate your own sense of patience while you’re driving.

In essence, that means that you need to take the following steps:

  • Keep well behind a big rig. Most have notices telling you how far you need to stay back to both be seen by the driver and avoid spray from water and other road debris.
  • Assume that you may be in the driver’s blind spot at any time. Give the trucks room to turn when needed and make sure that the driver sees you if you’re trying to pass.
  • Only pass when necessary. An inconvenience on the road is better than an accident.

Despite the best precautions, truck accidents still happen. In that case, explore all your legal options.