The size and weight of a commercial motor vehicle, such as a large truck or a bus, often make a collision more dangerous for private passenger vehicle drivers. Unfortunately, the same factors make CMVs more difficult to maneuver, with greater braking and acceleration distances.
As the driver of a private passenger vehicle, there is nothing you can do to change the size and unwieldiness of a big truck. However, you can take steps to drive defensively around CMVs to avoid accidents.
- Stay behind the line
When you stop at an intersection, be careful to avoid going over the line. Trucks and buses have a wide turning radius. By extending over the line, you could inadvertently block the path in which the CMV needs to travel and put yourself at risk for a collision.
- Avoid blind spots
Since CMVs are large vehicles, they have correspondingly large blind spots on each side of the vehicle. Sometimes it may be necessary for you to traverse a CMV’s blind spot (e.g., while passing). However, you should avoid lingering in a blind spot for any length of time. Look at the vehicle’s mirrors and see if you can see the driver. If not, the driver probably cannot see you. Get out of the blind spot by adjusting your speed accordingly.
- Do not tailgate
This is generally a good piece of advice but is especially important when following a large CMV because the blind spot behind the vehicle extends back 30 feet.
- Do not cut off a CMV
When passing a large commercial vehicle, give it extra space, and be sure you can see it in your rearview mirror before moving in front of it. A truck or bus has a greater braking distance than a private passenger vehicle. Additionally, CMVs have a blind spot that extends 20 feet in front of the vehicle. In other words, if you cut in too quickly, the driver of the truck or bus may not be able to see you at all, or, it may not be able to stop in time even if you are visible.
You cannot control other drivers’ behavior. However, you can do your part to avoid a dangerous collision.