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What You Need To Know About Sharing the Road with Commercial Trucks

What You Need To Know About Sharing the Road with Commercial Trucks

NTTA is joining federal transportation safety experts in June to help draw attention to commercial trucking safety.

Commercial trucking is integral to our economy. Americans rely on commercial trucks to deliver food and goods to local grocery stores, medical supplies to pharmacies and hospitals, and packages to loved ones. But because of their sheer size, weight and physical properties, commercial trucks can introduce a disproportionate hazard to passenger vehicle occupants in a crash.

In 2015, the National Transportation Safety Board identified commercial truck safety as one of its Top 10 Most Wanted safety improvements. And according to the National Traffic Safety Institute, more than 200,000 collisions occur each year involving at least one motor vehicle and one commercial truck.

For the safety of all drivers on NTTA roads, the Authority regularly partners with adjacent municipalities and state troopers for commercial vehicle enforcement.

In order to help reduce this number of accidents and be proactive when it comes to accident prevention, the following safety tips are recommended:

  • Watch for blind spots. Large trucks need ample room when making turns. Their blind spots are larger than that of regular automobiles, which interferes with visibility. Their trucks often have signage stating that if you cannot see the truck driver in the truck’s side-view mirror, the truck driver most likely cannot see you. Stay visible. Keep a safe, four-car distance to help avoid drifting into their blind spot area.
  • Do not squeeze into a space. When a truck is making a turn, do not speed up to pass it or try to squeeze into the space next to it to turn. There is simply not enough room when dealing with a vehicle as large as a commercial truck to maneuver as safely as with other vehicles.
  • Wait for the right time to pass. It is much different passing a large truck than a regular passenger vehicle. Ensure that you can maintain a constant speed when passing instead of racing ahead and pulling immediately in front of the truck. Do not attempt to pass around curves or when approaching hills on two-lane roads.
  • Do not cut in front. Immediately switching lanes in front of a truck or not giving a truck enough space when passing may result in a situation of emergency braking. Keep in mind that trucks take longer to slow down or stop than regular vehicles. A sudden stop can cause a serious accident involving multiple cars. It is best to assess traffic and space between vehicles before choosing to pass a commercial driver on the road.
  • Avoid aggressive driving. Due to the size and weight of cargo that commercial drivers carry, they are subject to certain speed zones. Although you may want to keep up with the flow of traffic, exceeding the speed limit to pass a commercial truck or driving in their blind spot has the potential of causing an accident.