I am always a little unnerved when I’m driving beside a big truck. I worry that the driver won’t see me and will veer into my lane.
That’s a real possibility, said Allen Boyd, a truck driver for Walmart Transportation who has more than 30 years of experience. He is a member of America’s Road Team, an outreach group of the American Trucking Associations that educates drivers about highway safety. “If you’re driving next to a truck, glance at the driver’s side-view mirror—if you can’t see his face, then he probably can’t see your car.”
If you’re driving behind a truck, make sure that you can see both of the truck’s side-view mirrors. If you can’t, slow down and leave a greater gap between your car and the truck.
Passing a truck is another challenge. You might be hanging next to it for an uncomfortably long time (given how long a truck is). “You’ll probably be eager to dive back into the lane, in front of the truck, as soon as possible,” said Boyd. But make sure that you have moved far enough ahead in the passing lane to see the truck’s entire cab (the front part of the truck, where the driver sits) in your rearview mirror. When possible, it’s best to pass the truck on the left—the blind spot on the right side is much larger.
If a truck is trying to pass you but seems to be hugging your left side for a long time, it’s not because the driver wants to stay there. “For safety reasons, 67% of trucks are programmed so that drivers can’t exceed the speed limit,” said Boyd. You may have to slow down temporarily so that the driver can pass you more easily.