What can drivers do to safely share the roads with semi-trucks?

Every day in Alabama, and all across the U.S., drivers of small passenger vehicles share the roads with large tractor-trailers. Since semi-trucks can be 20 to 30 times heavier than other autos, it can be very serious when they are involved in collisions. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 100,000 people were injured in accidents involving semi-trucks in 2012. That is the most recent year for which statistics are available. In that same year, nearly 4,000 people were killed in truck accidents. While some crashes cannot be prevented, there are some steps that motorists can take to safely share the roads with truckers.

One of the most important things for drivers to keep in mind when sharing the road with semis is that tractor-trailers are larger than passenger vehicles. As such, truckers generally require more space in order to safely operate their vehicles, according to Teen Safe Driving. To give semi-trucks the space they need, it can be important for other motorists to avoid tailgating these larger autos. Additionally, drivers should avoid making sudden stops when they are in front of semis. This is because it can take the length of as many as three football fields for big rigs to stop when they are fully loaded. By avoiding sudden movements, other drivers can give truckers the space that their vehicles require.

Even drivers in the smallest passenger vehicles may have issues with blind spots. This can make it difficult to safely change lanes, merge and otherwise operate their vehicles. For truckers, these areas of low-visibility tend to be much larger and extend around the front, sides and backs of semi-trucks. Therefore, staying out of these areas can help drivers to ensure that truckers are able to see them and their vehicles, which may reduce their risk of being involved in a collision.

Whether sharing the road with other motorists, truckers, bikers or pedestrians, it is always important for drivers to be attentive. By using care and avoiding distractions while driving, people may be able to reduce their risk of being involved in, or causing, serious accidents. 

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