Semi-trucks are a common sight on New Mexico’s roads, and while they play an essential role in our economy, they can also be dangerous. So whether you’re a motorist, motorcyclist or cyclist, there are certain precautions you should take when sharing the road with these large vehicles to stay safe around them.
Be aware of their blind spots
Usually, the driver’s blind spot is in the lane to the right of the semi-truck and extends several car lengths back from the cab. If you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, the driver can’t see you either. Therefore, it’s essential to avoid spending too much time in these areas and to be especially cautious when passing or merging.
Tailgating is never a good idea, but it’s hazardous around semi-trucks. They need a greater distance to brake than smaller vehicles, so following too closely increases your risk of being involved in a rear-end collision.
Use extreme caution in bad weather
Bad weather can make driving conditions more difficult for everyone, but it’s especially hazardous around semi-trucks. They’re more likely to lose control or jackknife (when the trailer swings out from behind the cab, often due to braking too sharply) in high winds or slippery roads. If you can, avoid driving near them in these conditions to avoid motor vehicle accidents.
Semi-trucks make wide turns and often have to swing out into another lane. They also travel at lower speeds than other vehicles on the road, so patience is essential when behind them. Be prepared to stop or slow down if they signal that they will turn.
Give them plenty of space
When passing a semi-truck, make sure you give them plenty of room. They often travel in the left lane, so if you can, move over into the right lane before passing. And, as always, use your turn signal to let them know your intentions.
It can be difficult for a truck driver to see you at night or in low-light conditions. So make sure your headlights are on and wear reflective clothing if you’re walking or biking near traffic. You may also consider attaching a flag to your bicycle to make yourself more visible.
Semi-trucks haul heavy loads, which can make them difficult to maneuver. Therefore, you should consider these tips to avoid motor vehicle accidents when sharing the road with them.