Here Are Some Helpful Tips For Safely Driving Around Semi-Trucks

Driving around semi-trucks, or 18-wheelers can be annoying and scary at the same time. Their sheer mass can inflict a lot of damage on the cars around or in front of them should the worst happen. In fact, more than 4,000 fatal car crashes occur every year, and most of the time, it’s due to the driving in the car, not the truck. As such, here are some helpful tips for safe driving around semi-trucks the next time you’re driving on the freeway.

Tips for driving around semi-trucks

We recently saw a news story about a Canadian woman in a Mini Cooper who was pushed for half a mile by a semi-truck that didn’t see her turn in front of him. According to the story posted by Motor1, the semi-truck driver was unaware of the incident until another car flagged him down to notify him. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Based on that story, it’s clear that although you can see a semi-truck coming from far away, they have more blind spots than you do, making it hard for them to see you.

Semi-trucks wait for inspection before crossing the border.
Semi-trucks wait for the inspection before crossing the border. | (Photo credit should read PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images)

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Here are some other tips for driving around semi-trucks from DefensiveDriving.org:

  • Never text and drive: You shouldn’t be texting while driving anyway. However, if an 18-wheeler happens to be around or in front of you for those five seconds you’re sending that important emoji to a friend, it could mean life or death if you don’t see them.  
  • Avoid cutting off a semi-truck: Keep in mind that a semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which means they take a lot longer to stop than your passenger car. In order to avoid any collisions, never cut off a semi-truck as the driver will likely not be able to see your car at all, which was the case in the aforementioned news story about the Mini Cooper.
  • Don’t tailgate a semi-truck: Tailgating a semi-truck isn’t a good idea either as debris can fall off the back of the truck and go through your windshield. Also, since semi-truck drivers can see the road ahead of them better than other drivers, they may stop sooner, which would cause you to rear-end them.
  • Never drive next to a semi-truck: Semi-trucks have large blind spots on the sides of them, which means that they may not see your car when making a lane change. As you can tell, that could lead to catastrophic events.
  • Pass semi-trucks quickly: Since semi-trucks have large blind spots on all sides of them, it’s best to just stay out of their way. In that case, drive quickly past them on the left side at a safe speed and make sure not stay too long in their blind spot.
  • Give the semi-truck the right of way: If you’re in a situation where you can let the semi-truck go first, then do it. It’s best to give them the right of way and stay out of their way.
  • Watch out for drifting semi-trucks: It’s common to see a semi-truck on the freeway start to swerve as if the driver were drunk. While that could be the case, that kind of driving is usually caused by windy conditions, especially if the truck is unloaded. Always give trucks space as they could possibly overturn under severe weather conditions.

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Be a responsible driver

While it might sound like we’re telling you to stay as far away from semi-trucks as possible, we kind of are. Considering those giant 18-wheelers can inflict a ton of damage to your car and the cars around them, it’s best to stay out of their way as much as possible.

A lot of things can go wrong in a matter of seconds, so be a responsible driver as much as possible and stay aware of your surroundings. You could possibly save someone else’s life and maybe even your own.