Getting involved in an accident with another passenger vehicle can be deadly enough. Replace “another passenger vehicle” with a large truck or bus and the potential for death and injury goes up significantly. Understanding the huge differences between passenger vehicles and commercial ones is important for passenger vehicle drivers.
Taking simple actions can help you protect your safety and that of others. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, commercial vehicles have longer stopping distances and much larger blind spots than traditional passenger vehicles.
How should I deal with longer stopping distances?
Since smaller vehicles have less mass, they require less stopping distance. Tailgating is never a good idea no matter how big the other vehicle is; however, getting too close to a commercial vehicle can have serious consequences.
When you are operating around a large commercial vehicle, it is a good idea to give it at least 30 feet of space behind and 20 feet of space in front. Of course, in heavy traffic this may not always be possible; however, it is wise to give commercial vehicles plenty of berth on the open road.
How should I deal with larger blind spots?
While it is a good idea to always pass a vehicle on the left, it is much more important with larger commercial vehicles. This is because the blind spot on the left side of a truck or bus only extends over one lane of traffic. On the right side of a truck or bus, the blind spot typically covers two entire lanes.
Passing these large vehicles on the left means that the driver has a greater chance of seeing you. Passing on the right could result in an accident.