Defensive Driving: How to Hang Alongside 18-Wheelers

by Terry Bryant

Specific regulations exist to make traveling alongside 18-wheelers safer for smaller vehicles. According to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Association, 3,964 people were killed and an estimated 95,000 people were injured in crashes involving large trucks in 2013. Unfortunately, Texas had the largest trucks involved in fatal crashes of all 50 states.

Defensive driving can be useful in looking out for your own safety when driving on routes frequented by 18-wheelers and other oversized vehicles. Practice these driving habits to protect yourself and your passengers:

  • Lean left — Most 18-wheelers have signs that caution other vehicles to pass only on the left. This is because the driver has a more difficult time spotting vehicles passing on the right.  Once you decide to pass an 18-wheeler, make your move or fall back.  Don’t hang out alongside the trailer.  It is very likely that the driver cannot see you there.
  • Look for rearview mirrors — Have you ever seen an 18-wheeler display a sign that says, “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you?” Do your best to safely pass an 18-wheeler by keeping its mirrors in sight so the driver can see you.
  • Stay back during rain — If you decide to pass an 18-wheeler during a rainstorm, you very well may find yourself blinded by the moisture coming from underneath the 18-wheeler. Stay back to protect your visibility.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, contact a personal injury attorney about your potential claim.