Sharing the road with 18-wheelers and other big trucks
TxDOT is reminding all drivers to take extra precautions when driving around trucks.
Thousands of large trucks and tractor-trailers travel busy Texas highways every day. Weighing 20 times more than an average car, “big rigs” require more time to accelerate and decelerate and have large blind spots that other motorists need to be aware of to help avoid a potentially deadly crash.
An 80,000-pound, loaded tractor-trailer going 65 mph can take as much as the length of a football field to come to a complete stop, which is why motorists should avoid driving too closely or swerving in front of a large truck.
Tractor-trailers and large trucks also have more and larger blind spots than passenger vehicles do. It’s important to try to stay out of these blind spots around the front, back and sides of trucks. A good rule of thumb for motorists to remember is that if they can’t see the truck driver in the truck's side mirror, that truck driver can’t see them or their vehicle either.
To help keep everyone safe on the road, TxDOT asks motorists to give trucks plenty of room and observe the following safety tips when driving around large trucks:
- Pass trucks safely by waiting until you can see both truck headlights in your rearview mirror before moving back into your lane. Pass a truck only when it’s legal and safe.
- Stay away from a truck’s “No Zones,” blind spot areas in which crashes are more likely to occur. No Zones include the blind spots along each side, the space up to 20 feet in front of the cab, and the area up to 200 feet behind the trailer.
- Maintain a safe following distance. Be sure you can see the driver in the truck’s side mirror.
- Never cross behind a truck that is backing up.
- Don’t squeeze between a truck and the curb. Trucks make wide right turns, and the driver may not see you.
“Be Safe. Drive Smart.” is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel such as wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Nov. 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways.