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What Are the 3 Top Driving Habits to Avoid an Accident With a Commercial Truck or Big-Rig?

The United States has a world-class transportation network. These highways, roads, and freeways permit for the rapid transit of goods and people locally, intrastate, and across the nation. In any single day, millions of vehicles travel on the nation’s network of roads and highways. And the vast majority of commuters and commercial truck drivers reach their destination safely and without incident.

But, one fact of life in the modern world is that vastly different vehicles must share the highways and roadways. Vehicles ranging from motorcycles and compact cars to 18-wheelers and commercial trucks in excess of 10,000 pounds must find means to co-exist. One of the best ways to increase the odds of safe travel and decrease the risk of an accident with a large truck is to understand some of the behaviors that frustrate and, at times, infuriating truckers. The reasons for their anger can range from having to deal with mere annoyances to being forced to counter extremely dangerous mistakes or driving practices.

Understand The Characteristics Of A Truck Effects Driving Behavior

Simply put, trucks are extremely large and heavy vehicles. Even the smallest truck simply dwarfs the largest sedan or even a large SUV. However, these differences in size and weight have implications far beyond mere aesthetics. Consider that a typical passenger car can weigh roughly 2,000 to 4,000 pounds. An empty commercial truck can weigh around 30,000 pounds and up to 80,000 pounds when loaded. While a car’s length is about 12 to 17 feet, a semitrailer with an attached trailer is about 65 feet long.

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This enormous disparity in size has a number of practical consequences. One of the most important and potentially deadly consequences of this disparity is the difference in stopping distance between the vehicles. Consider that the average car traveling at 65 miles per hour would take somewhere between 300 and 320 feet to come to a stop. A fully loaded truck could take up to 530 feet to come to a stop. This distance is more than the length of two football fields. So, the next time you consider cutting in front of a truck when approaching a red light, reconsider the safety of your actions. The same goes for cutting a truck off on the highway to make your exit at the last moment.

Dim Your High Beams at Night – and During the Day

In today’s world of extremely bright halogen-based headlights, some drivers still feel the need to run their high beams at night and sometimes during the day. While drivers used to gripe about the excessively bright halogen bulbs, even brighter alternatives are now available. Consider that the average halogen bulb produces about 1400 lumens while a xenon bulb generates more than double the light at 3000 lumens. And yet, people still feel the need to drive with their high beams at full intensity. Furthermore, they fail to exercise the common courtesy of dimming their lights when oncoming traffic is present.

If you need your high beams on a dark, winding country road dim them when another vehicle approaches. After all, do you really want a 50,000 pound plus semi hurtling towards you while the driver is blinded?

Practice Proper Merging and Yielding Behaviors

As any person who has spent a significant amount of driving can likely attest to, for many drivers the proper merge and yield behaviors are a mystery for far too many drivers. While smaller, more nimble vehicles can often compensate for these mistakes or intentional actions, larger vehicles with a reduced ability to stop short, swerve or otherwise avoid an accident cannot. Therefore, while it is always important to follow the rules of the road, these rules become increasingly important and even essential when actions are taken in the vicinity of a large commercial truck.

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If you are tempted to pass a truck on the right, remember that there could be an even slower-moving vehicle concealed by the trailer. If the vehicle is moving especially slowly or the truck driver is traveling at particularly excessive speeds, it is likely or inevitable that he or she will hit the slow-moving vehicle. Furthermore, while there are blind spots on both sides of a truck, drivers anticipate passing vehicles on the left. They often do not expect a vehicle to pass on the right.

These Are only the Basics of Avoiding a Commercial Truck Crash

These practices represent somewhere near the minimum a driver should know about avoiding truck crashes. Drivers should also avoid tailgating. The failure to follow these and other best practices can significantly increase the likelihood of a serious, life-altering wreck that involves a commercial truck.

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