Defensive Driving for Safely Navigating Around Semi Trucks
Every day you can witness hundreds of 18 wheelers crossing the LaFleur and driving across state on the 10; or you may be forced to watch them make you late for work by backing up Prien on a daily basis. No matter where you see them, the fact of the matter is, semis are a big part of Louisiana’s road system, and since you’ll be hard pressed to avoid them, you need to know how to safely drive along side of them.
Defensive Driving and Truck Safety Guidelines
Semi-trucks can be notoriously hard to maneuver in emergency situations. They can weigh up to 150,000 pounds and haul 40 foot containers, making it extremely hard for truck drivers to brake suddenly or swerve to avoid objects. This is why you must not only be cautious and alert about the trucks themselves, but you must also anticipate other drivers and adjust for both you and the truck. Here are some guidelines:
- Keep at least two car lengths between you and the semi at all times—whether you’re in front or behind.
- Never pass a truck on the right at an intersection; he may be turning left and need the extra space on his right to allow room for the turn.
- Allow semis to move over when changing lanes—DO NOT speed up to attempt to pass him before he can move. Not only might he not see you, but he may not be able to adjust his speed to compensate for your increase.
- If approaching an onramp, and the truck is in the right lane while you’re in the left lane, make sure no one else is attempting to merge from the ramp. If there is someone, make sure you allow room for the semi to move over to your lane, giving room for the other car to merge.
- Be extremely cautious when approaching semis at intersections—make sure you see them and they see you.
- Always remember that it is much harder for a semi-truck to adjust speed than it is for you. If someone has to stop or adjust, it is often better that you do, rather than making the semi.
As long as you take the proper precautions and drive as defensively as you can, there should be no need for trucks to alter their driving, which can drastically decrease the potential of a collision.
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