Each day, millions of drivers share the road with a vital yet sizable presence—the commercial truck. While these monstrous machines are the backbone of our economy, they also require a significant amount of care and vigilance from their fellow road users. With their lengthy stopping distances, limited visibility, and specific operational needs, all drivers must understand the best practices for safely sharing the road with commercial vehicles.


Understand Truck Drivers and Their Vehicles


To understand commercial trucking properly, it’s crucial to know the challenges truck drivers face along their journeys.


Stopping Distances


Calculating Time to Stop: On average, it takes a semi-truck traveling at highway speeds of about 525 feet to come to a complete stop. This distance is nearly the length of a football field. Understanding this distance helps drivers operating smaller vehicles respect the truck’s need for space and time to halt.


Braking Systems:  Additionally, it’s crucial to realize that trucks use air brakes, which require more time and force to engage fully than the hydraulic brakes found in most passenger cars.

Limited Vision


Blind Spots:  Trucks possess significant blind spots, known as “no-zones,” on all sides and behind the vehicle. Therefore, avoid lingering in these areas, as truck drivers may not see you, creating perilous situations for everyone during lane changes and turns.


Height Differences:  Commercial vehicles are considerably taller than the average car, which impacts their field of vision. Consequently, small cars, particularly those near the truck, can be entirely hidden from the driver’s sight.


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Speed Management


Lagging and Leading: Consistently maintain a steady speed, and when passing a truck, do so swiftly without lingering in the truck’s blind spots. Similarly, if a truck passes you, ease off the accelerator to give them space without speeding up or slowing down erratically.


Weather Adaptation: Trucks are more susceptible to high winds and inclement weather. Therefore, reduce your speed and maintain a safe distance from trucks during poor weather conditions to allow them to maneuver safely.


Best Practices for Sharing the Road Safely 


Adhering to certain principles can dramatically improve the safety of all drivers on the road, especially when large trucks are involved:


Lane Courtesy


Follow the Golden Rule:  Treat truck drivers how you want to be treated. Ensure there’s ample space for trucks to maneuver wide turns, and yield when needed for safe merging onto highways.


Stay in Your Lane: Avoid making sudden lane changes in front of trucks. They require more time and distance to slow down or stop, so when you cut in too close, you risk causing a dangerous situation.

Caution at Intersections


Wait Your Turn: Be patient and wait for the truck to complete its turn before you proceed through an intersection, especially on right turns. It’s about ensuring enough space and time for both vehicles to clear the turn safely.


Avoid the Squeeze: If a truck turns right and you’re on its right side, consider whether there’s space for you both to complete the turn safely. If in doubt, hang back and yield the right of way until it’s clear.

Night and Adverse Conditions


See and Be Seen: Always use your lights at night, dawn, and dusk. Truckers rely on the lights from other vehicles to help them see and anticipate traffic, especially when your vehicle may otherwise be in a blind spot.

Don’t Cut in Front: The glare from your headlights can impair a truck driver’s vision, so avoid cutting in front of trucks too closely, particularly at night.



Use Signals: Indicate your intentions early and often when traveling near trucks. This proactive communication can help truck drivers anticipate your moves, fostering a more predictable driving environment.


Give and Take Signs: If a trucker signals to change lanes or passes you, slow down slightly to make the maneuver easier for them. The courtesy will likely be returned, improving the flow of traffic.




Stay Focused: Distracted driving is dangerous—when near a truck, eliminate distractions. Keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel to be prepared for any changes in traffic conditions.


No Multi-Tasking: Tasks like eating, texting, or changing the radio station can take your attention off the road and could lead to hazardous interactions with trucks.


Respond to Common Truck Driver Maneuvers


Understanding common truck driver behaviors can help you predict their next moves and respond appropriately:


Merging onto Highways


Adjust Speed: When you see a truck merge onto the highway, safely adjust your speed to allow room for them. Be ready to slow down or change lanes to create a clear path.

Be Predictable: Don’t weave in and out of traffic; maintain a consistent speed and lane position. This allows the truck driver to anticipate and adjust their merge more safely.

Passing Trucks


Be Quick, but Not Hurried: Pass a truck decisively and without delay. Only pass when you can see both truck headlights in your rearview mirror, signal, and merge back into the right lane.

Avoid Side Dangers:  Never pass a truck on the right side due to blind spots; moreover, the driver might not spot you. Always pass on the left for better visibility by the truck driver.




What You Should Do in Case of a Trucking Accident


Immediately after an accident, make sure you and your passengers are safe, call for medical help if necessary, and collect as much evidence as you can. Obtain contact and insurance details from everyone involved and talk to any witnesses. Avoid admitting fault; you might not have all the information, and an incorrect admission could harm you in a legal conflict.


Your Legal Rights After a Trucking Accident


Accidents can happen at any moment, and even with all the necessary precautions to share the road safely, they can still occur. If you ever experience a trucking accident, it’s crucial to understand your legal rights and seek proper representation. The right Truck Accident Lawyer will ensure you receive compensation for any damages or injuries. When looking for a Toledo trucking accident lawyer, Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault is a standout firm. As experienced truck accident lawyers serving Northwest Ohio, Ohio, and Southeast Michigan, we have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the legal process. Don’t let the stress of a trucking accident overwhelm you; remember, legal assistance can help you navigate these challenging times and ensure you get the justice you deserve.

Call us at 419-843-6663 to get started, or use our easy online contact form today.

Get peace of mind with a free consultation from an experienced Toledo trucking accident lawyer at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault. Additionally, our consultations guide you on legal options, evaluate cases, and discuss potential compensation. Rest assured, accident victims receive legal help at no cost. Furthermore, we handle Personal Injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning no fees unless we recover compensation for you. Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault have extensive experience in representing clients involved in trucking accidents.