Trying to navigate the narrow, somewhat confusing streets of Atlanta can be stressful. It can be even more stressful if you have to share your space with trucks, buses, and other large vehicles. Passenger cars, even SUVs, are a lot smaller and lighter than trucks. As an Atlanta driver, you might not have a choice but to be in close quarters with a truck. Here are a few tips for safety when driving around trucks.
10 tips for driving around trucks.
1. Be aware of the “danger zones”.
Because trucks are so large and so bulky, visibility for truck drivers is very limited. There are prominent blind spots on every side of the vehicle. If you’re in a blind spot, the truck driver can’t see you. So follow this guideline – if you can’t see the driver in the vehicle side mirror, it’s a pretty good guess to say they can’t see you. To avoid being in a blind spot, slow down or get ahead of the truck so you’re not in a dangerous spot. And be really careful if you’re merging.
2. Be cautious when passing.
You’ve also got to be very careful when you’re passing a truck or bus. Admittedly, trucks and buses don’t go too fast, so you may need to pass. Here’s how to do that safely:
- Check that you can see the driver in the side mirror.
- Signal clearly, then move into the left lane. (Don’t pass on the right.)
- Speed up, then pass the vehicle safely and quickly. (You don’t want to hang out in the blind spot.)
- Make sure the truck/bus is in your rearview mirror before moving back – be sure to give the truck lots of space.
Some other considerations for passing trucks: don’t pass a truck if you’re going downhill. They can pick up a lot of speed. And if you are being passed by a truck, you need to stay to the right. Should the truck be changing lanes or merging around you, give them some space. Remember, they need some extra breathing room.
3. Don’t get too close when driving around trucks.
You don’t want to cut off a commercial vehicle. If you change lanes in front of a truck or bus too quickly, the vehicle might not have enough room to slow down or stop. Even if they can see you, they might not be able to slow the vehicle fast enough. And if you make a sudden move and change lanes quickly, you might be in a blind spot where the truck driver can’t see you. Remember – big trucks take a lot of time to stop.
4. Give the truck lots of space.
It’s important to give the truck lots of space. In other words, don’t tailgate. If you were to get hit, your car could get shoved under the truck. Commercial motor vehicles are extremely tall. And especially if you’re on an uphill, stay back just in case the bus or truck rolls back.
5. Remember that trucks need space to turn.
Large vehicles need lots of room to turn. They might swing really wide. Or they might even turn from a middle lane because they need extra room. So, don’t try to get by the truck or squish yourself between the truck and the curb. Also, be careful with where you stop. Don’t block an intersection or stop in front of the line. That way trucks can turn without issues.
6. Don’t get impatient.
Trucks and buses need some time to get going. They can’t go as fast as passenger cars. If you’re honking or being aggressive or weaving, that’s not helpful. It’s actually very distracting and thus can be very dangerous. Anyways, just try to keep calm.
7. Use your seatbelt.
Every car ride should include the split second it takes to buckle your seatbelt. Make sure you’re buckled up and that your passengers are buckled up. And if there are kids in the car, make sure they’re riding in the back and that they’re in the proper car seats. Everybody needs to be fastened properly into the vehicle. That’s extremely important.
8. Don’t drive distracted.
Also, you don’t want to drive distracted. If there’s something that needs your immediate attention, look for a safe place to pull over. Then you can take care of the issue. When you’re done, then you can get back on the road. Distracted driving is extremely dangerous.
9. Don’t drive drowsy.
If you find yourself getting too tired, you might want to take a break. Find a safe place to have a bit of a rest. Walk around a bit. Or you can switch drivers if you’ve got someone else in the car who can take over for you. You need to give yourself time to rest and recharge so you don’t get too exhausted.
10. Don’t drive intoxicated.
It’s not a great plan to drive intoxicated. Your decision-making and reaction time can be significantly impaired. If you’re taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, be aware of the side effects – sometimes these things can have side effects like dizziness or drowsiness. If need be, have somebody else drive. Don’t be shy about speaking up if you don’t feel like you should drive.
Being around large trucks and sharing the road with them can be overwhelming. They’re intimidating. But if you’re aware of the challenges trucks face and the dangers, you can take steps to stay safe when driving around trucks.
And of course, you need to have the right car insurance. Our team can help you with that. We would be happy to go over your car insurance needs with you and help you find the policy that’s right for you. (And we can help with your home insurance, too.) Get started with your quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat. We like to make insurance easy.