How Can You Safely Pass a Semi Truck?

We share the roads with semi-trucks every day. Are you driving safely around these large trucks? You might not be as safe as you think, especially if you take a long time to pass 18-wheeler trucks. These big rigs bring most of the store-bought materials to locations around the country. An accident with a semi-truck could be fatal, which is why you should learn how to pass semi-trucks safely.

What should you know about semi-trucks?

In order to practice driving defensively, you should know some facts about the large trucks out on the road with you. Here are a few things to think about:

  • It takes semi-trucks longer to stop than passenger vehicles
  • Their blind spot is bigger than yours
  • Truckers can be tired, especially if it’s near the end of their allotted driving time

How should you properly pass a semi-truck?

Semi-Truck Driving Down a Highway
Semi-Truck Driving Down a Highway | Wiki Commons

The best way to practice driving safely around semi-trucks is to remember a few things while passing. Here are four simple tips to keep you and the trucker safe while passing.

Remain Visible

Before passing, ensure you’re visible to the trucker. If you can see the driver in the side mirror, they can also see you. When the trucker knows where you are, you’ll have a better chance of driving safely past their truck.

Pass on the Left

Always pass on the left. It’s not always illegal to pass on the right, but the left lane is generally considered the passing lane for vehicles traveling faster. This is also the closest lane to the trucker, which makes you more visible to them.

Pass at a safe speed

You don’t need to rocket past the truck. Practice driving defensively and pass safely on the left side while maintaining a steady speed. Get out of the blind spot as quickly as you can to help ensure the 18-wheeler truck and its driver can feel you’re in a safe place on the road.

Leave Plenty of Room

Before moving back over to the right lane, ensure you’ve got plenty of room. Most of the time, when you signal to return to the right lane, the semi-truck will flash its lights at you to let you know it’s safe to move over into that lane.

Is it safe to pass a semi-truck on the right?

Passing any vehicle on the right is one of the least safe driving actions you can take. You run several risks while doing this, including truckers being unable to see you while you’re passing. It’s much better to pass on the left and never pass on the right.

What are driving safety rules to remember when sharing the road with trucks?

Semi-Truck on the Road
Semi-Truck on the Road | Wiki Commons

FleetNet America offers seven tips for driving safety while sharing the road with semis. These tips are:

  • Driving defensively – anticipating potential problems and how you’ll avoid them
  • Keep a safe driving distance – being too close to semi-trucks can be problematic
  • Avoid blind spots – these are areas where truckers can’t see your vehicle
  • Pass quickly – this helps you and the trucker
  • Don’t cut off large trucks – 18-wheeler trucks stop much slower than passenger vehicles
  • Dim the bright lights – this is a good idea for driving safely near any vehicle
  • Always signal – signaling allows truckers and other drivers to know your intentions on the road

You can easily pass semi-trucks while on the highway by practicing defensively and simple driving safety practices.

Next, check out why semi-truck wheels are shaped differently, or learn more about driving safely while on the road with semi-trucks in this video below: