Bigger Means Deadlier: How to Pass Trucks Safely

You’ll never forget the day when you and your family almost wound up under a semi-truck. It was rush hour on SR-236 and you were surrounded by two different truck convoys. You hate driving near trucks, so you decided to pass the three ahead of you.

You took your chance and quickly swerved to the left lane. You managed to pass the first truck without an issue, but as you approached the second truck, it put on its blinker—its driver also wished to pass the lead truck. Since you were already in the left lane and didn’t want to get stuck behind another truck, you ignored his signal and continued your course.

Bad move. You were driving parallel to the second truck, matching his speed, so you lingered next to his back tires. At that point, you suddenly noticed his front tires veering into your lane, and his back tires closing in toward your wife and children.

You slammed on the brakes just in time. As the truck driver finished his merge—the back end scraping your front bumper—he apparently saw your car and attempted to readjust. However, surrounded by other trucks, he panicked and overcorrected, causing the truck’s carriage to start to lean. The tilt grew steeper, and the truck tipped over on its side. Other vehicles maneuvered desperately to avoid the overturned truck; you could hear the cars behind you crunching into one another.

After checking your family to make sure they’re okay, you try to make sense of what just happened. Why did the truck try to get over when you were there? Couldn’t the driver see you? Is this entire accident your fault for not letting him get over when he signaled? What should you have done to make sure your passing was safe?

Guidelines for Safe Truck Passing

Always make sure you remember and follow these five steps to ensure your and your family’s safety when passing a truck.

  • Stay in the truck driver’s mirror and make sure he can see that you’re passing. Use your turn signal! Remember, if you can’t see him, he can’t see you.
  • Never linger next to a truck.
  • Never attempt to pass a truck at an intersection.
  • When returning to your own lane from the passing lane, make sure there’s at least two or three car lengths between your rear bumper and the front of the truck. Don’t make the truck driver have to slow down.
  • When passing on a two-lane road, always make sure it’s legal to do so, as well as safe. Trucks can’t maneuver as quickly as cars, and if an oncoming vehicle approaches you while you’re still in his lane, the truck most likely won’t be able to move in time to avoid a crash.

Don’t be a statistic! Pay attention (especially while passing), follow truck safety guidelines, and share this page with your loved ones to help promote safety awareness and help decrease truck accident injuries and fatalities.

Speak With an Attorney at Shevlin Smith

Need more information about truck accident safety and claims? Contact us today for a free consultation. We’re here to help you! Call 703-591-0067