The majority of California drivers have become accustom to sharing the road with a wide variety of vehicles. From bikes to buses, motorists are responsible for safely navigating their way around these important modes of transportation. This includes driving alongside large tractor-trailers. Big and bulky, these road-worn beasts are sizable obstacles to dodge – especially when driving a compact California car rental.
If you’re planning to spend some time on California’s freeways during your upcoming visit to the Bay Area, beware: trucks dominate these roadways. As a fellow road user, it’s important to note that many of these long haul vehicles are plagued by large blind spots. Make one wrong move in your rental and you could find yourself stuck in a very dangerous situation.
Fortunately, California car rental drivers can educate themselves on the dangers of driving alongside transport trucks, ultimately lessening their chances of being involved in a serious collision. Here are a handful of tips to help you avoid getting caught in a truck’s blind spot.
Where Are Blind Spots Located on a Transport Truck?
In order to avoid a truck’s blind spots, you must first know where they’re located. While these areas differ depending on the make, model and size of the truck, most transport truck drivers will have difficulty seeing:
- Directly behind the truck
- Each side of the truck (this “no zone” can span several lanes)
- Directly in front of the truck (this includes the lane the truck is in and the lane directly to the right)
- Directly beside the passenger door
If ever you find yourself driving in one of these areas, don’t dawdle! Either ease off the gas and provide the trucker with more space, or speed up and pass the vehicle. The longer you hangout in these areas, the more likely the driver is to forget that you’re there – which is never a good thing.
Tailgating is a Terrible Idea
Tailgating, or following too closely behind a vehicle, is never a good idea. This is especially the case when following closely behind a transport truck. Not only will you be shielded from the truck driver’s view thanks to a blind spot, but you also run the risk of ramming your California car rental straight into the back of the truck bed is ever the transport were to unexpectedly stop.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. California car rentals also risk getting sucked into the wind tunnel that trucks create if they choose to follow too closely. At night, following too closely behind a truck could cause increased visibility issues as the light from the headlights on your California car rental is reflected off the truck’s mirrors and back into your vehicle. When following a truck, remember to maintain a four second following distance. In poor weather, double this following distance to eight seconds in your California car rental.
The easiest way to tell if you’re following a truck at a safe distance? Look for the transport’s side mirrors. If you can see both the left and right mirrors from your position in the driver’s seat of your California car rental, you’re on the right track. Remember: if you can see the trucker’s mirrors, he or she can also see you
Pass With Patience
Truckers sit very high in the cab of their vehicle. As such, the hood of their truck often blocks their view of the road directly in front of their vehicle. Remember this when passing a transport truck in your California car rental. Before moving in front of the truck, always check your review mirrors. You should be able to see the entire front of the truck in your inside rear-view mirror before you begin to ease your vehicle back in front of the truck.
Remember to maintain your speed after pulling in front of the truck. A truck requires twice the amount of time and space to stop than the standard car. If you were to slow down after executing the pass, the trucker would also need to adjust his or her speed – a trick maneuver when you’re hauling a heavy load. In order to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of the truck driver behind you, keep traveling at your current speed until you’ve created a distance of roughly 10 cars between your back bumper and the truck.
Pay Attention to Turn Signals and Brake Lights
Transport trucks boasts a number of indicator lights, all of which are designed to alert drivers to their actions. In many cases, these lights are the only way the truck driver can communicate with other vehicles on the road. So pay attention when following behind or alongside a transport. It’s often easier for you to adjust your speed and accommodate the trucker than vice versa.
Keep your cool when traveling alongside transports. Avoid obvious blind spots and cooperate with truck drivers to ensure a safe and enjoyable commute.