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Thursday, January 20, 2011

10-4 good buddy

Semis. 18-wheelers. Extra-long buses. RVs and towed trailers. From country roads to city streets, big rigs of all kinds are everywhere. If you’re not aware of their limitations, sharing the road with these large vehicles can be dangerous. For example, trucks don’t have the same stop-and-go capacity as passenger cars. And, considering their height and weight, they can inflict serious damage to smaller vehicles and their passengers — not to mention pedestrians. Here are some driving tips that may help keep you and your passengers safe when you’re sharing the road with a big rig:

•Be aware of “no zones” — Large trucks have blind spots around the front, back and sides of the vehicle. Try and stay out of these areas because the driver can’t see you. Take away: If you can’t see the driver in the truck’s mirror, the driver can’t see you.

•Passing rules — Before making a move, make sure you can see the front of the truck in your rear-view mirror. Don’t flash your lights; it’s not a universal signal and may only serve to confuse. Take away: Always signal your intent, pass on the left and pass quickly.

•Changing lanes — Large trucks take longer to stop than a car traveling at the same speed so they need greater braking distance. Take away: Don’t pull in front of a large truck and suddenly slow down or stop. The trucker may not be able to stop quickly enough to avoid crashing into you.

•Avoid a “squeeze play” — In order to negotiate a right turn, particularly in urban areas, truck drivers sometimes swing wide to the left. They can’t see directly behind or beside their vehicle so don’t create a “squeeze” by cutting between the truck and the curb. Take away: Pay attention to truck signals and give them plenty of room to maneuver.

Be extra cautious.

As you share the roads and highways with trucks, buses and large hauling vehicles, be attentive and stay focused. It may help you share the road safely.


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