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Every day, you drive around dozens of semitrucks on the way to work. You're well aware of the risk they post. In your small sedan, you know that even one small mistake made by a semi driver could be deadly.

To reduce the odds of these types of accidents, use these tips:

  • Only pass semitrucks in the left lane.
  • When you pass, be sure you signal to start the maneuver. Then, as you go around, give the truck more space than you think is necessary. Wait until it's far enough behind you that you can see the driver to reenter the original lane.
  • Always avoid the "no zones" where the driver can't see you. Don't get too close to the back, the front, or the areas near the cab on the sides. Even with mirrors, truckers have huge blind spots.
  • Remember that it takes a semi about 40 percent more road to come to a complete stop. Don't cut in front of a truck as you near a stoplight. You may stop in time, but the truck may not.
  • Give trucks extra room when they're turning. The standard turning radius is very wide, at about 55 feet.
  • Don't get impatient. Trucks can't always go as fast as you'd like. They have lower speed limits and some even have mechanical limiters on the trucks themselves. It can take them a long time to pass, but don't tailgate or drive aggressively.

These tips can certainly make your morning commute a bit safer, but they may not prevent all accidents. Make sure you know your rights if you get hit.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Tips for Driving Safely Around Large Trucks or Buses," accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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