The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has provided a list of safety tips for motorists when they encounter tractor-trailers and buses (Tips for Driving Safely Around Large Trucks or Buses). Because of their enormous size, commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) have operating drawbacks that must be accounted for by other vehicles, including larger blind spots, longer stopping distances, and reduced maneuverability.
In order to avoid any problems when encountering large trucks and buses, FMCSA recommends these Ten Rules of the Road:
- Stay out of the “No Zones.” Tractor-trailers and buses have large blind spots called “No Zones.” If you can’t see the truck’s driver in the side mirror, you should assume that he can’t see you.
- Pass Safely. When passing a large truck or bus, don’t linger in the “No Zone.” Make sure you see the truck or bus in your rearview mirror before pulling back over.
- Don’t Cut It Close. Tractor-trailers and buses take 40% longer to stop than passenger vehicles. Leave plenty of room when pulling in front of a CMV.
- Stay Back. Never tailgate a large truck or bus because you will almost certainly be in the “No Zone” and invisible to the driver.
- Anticipate Wide Turns. Tractor-trailers and buses need extra turning room. If the turn signal is on, don’t pull alongside to the right. CMVs have to swing wide or even make a turn from a middle lane.
- Be Patient. Large trucks and buses are often subject to different maximum speed limits. If you need to pass, be patient and wait for the appropriate moment.
- Buckle Up. Wearing a seat belt, and requiring that all your passengers (especially children) do the same, is the single most important thing you can do to increase safety, even in a collision with a tractor-trailer or bus.
- Stay Focused. Distracted driving is as dangerous as impaired driving. If you need to send a text or make a phone call, pull over to the side of the road.
- Don’t Drive Fatigued. Take regular driving breaks. If you’re tired, an encounter with a tractor-trailer or bus can be even more dangerous.
- Never Drive Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. Alcohol and drugs negatively impact both mental and physical ability. Never drive after ingesting alcohol or drugs.
Any accident involving a vehicle the size of a tractor-trailer or bus can result in extensive damage and devastating consequences. If you have been injured in a tractor-trailer or bus accident, please contact Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman for a free consultation. We only receive a fee in the event of a successful resolution of your case.