Cars and tractor trailers on the highway are sometimes like oil and water: They don’t mix. Car drivers do whatever they can to pass big rigs that they believe are moving too slowly down the road. At the same time, truck drivers groan as they anticipate the speeding car in the left lane will pass them and cut in front of their 18 wheeler, causing them to quickly put on the brakes. 
big rig sharkHowever, there does not have to be an adversarial relationship of small car vs. big rig. Car drivers can share the highway safely with large trucks by following these tips:
1. Do not intrude upon a truck’s “Safety Zone.” A rig’s “Safety Zone” is considered the distance between the truck and the vehicle in front of it. Do not diminish that space by squeezing your vehicle into it. When passing a big rig, make sure you can see the truck’s front headlights in your rear view mirror before moving in front of it.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that if you cut in front of a large truck or bus, you are, in effect, cutting your life short. Forcing a truck driver to brake suddenly could cause a fatal accident. According to the Nevada Highway Patrol, it can take a fully loaded truck travelling 65 mph over 500 feet to come to a complete stop.
2. Watch out for the truck’s blind spots. A truck driver has blind spots at the front, sides and rear of the rig. If you are behind a truck and cannot see the truck’s mirrors, then you are in the truck’s blind spot. If you are driving alongside a truck and cannot see the driver’s face in the truck’s side-view mirror, neither can the truck driver see you. Pass a truck as quickly as you can.
It’s a fact that tractor trailers have more limitations on the road than cars, yet their superior size and weight means they will nearly always come out ahead in any “car vs. truck” altercation, advise the lawyers at However, both car and truck drivers have to obey the rules of the road and put safety as their top priority.
3. Watch for a truck’s brake lights and signal lights. There are times when trucks have to unexpectedly pull into another lane in a relatively short period of time, such as in police emergencies on the shoulder of the highway or in other lanes. Give the truck some leeway by slowing down when you see a truck’s signal light and allowing it to safely change lanes.
trucks-passing4. Keep your fingers on the steering wheel. Do not honk your horn in frustration or “give the finger” to a truck driver because you believe he is driving too slowly.
5. Keep a safe distance behind trucks in inclement weather. Trucks will splash snow or rain on cars, making it difficult for drivers to see the road.
Car drivers can also help truck drivers by manoeuvring around their rigs, patiently and respectfully, to avoid causing accidents. If you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, particularly in the Dallas metro area, you can find representation and helpful advice online at Also remember, whether or not drivers of smaller vehicles want to admit it, truckers are helpful in warning of unexpected situations on the highway since they can see further down the road than drivers of smaller vehicles. It’s always better to try to work with them rather than against them.
Our Freelance writer Teresa Stewart is pleased to forward these tips on driving in traffic with large trucks. She learned that the attorneys at help clients seek legal remedies when they have been injured or have had a vehicle damaged in a wreck with a semi-truck.
For 101 more free driver safety tips, check this out.