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Summary
  • Semi-trucks are massive and unwieldy vehicles that carry heavy cargo. They are slow to react and have multiple blind spots around them.
  • When sharing the road with semi-trucks, it’s important to be vigilant. Keep an eye on them at all times and always give them the right of way.
  • Drive predictably and use your turn signals. Communicate your intentions to minimize the risk of traffic collisions.

An estimated 4,600 fatal road accidents involve collisions with semi-truck drivers every year. The figure for injuries is even higher, with approximately 182,000 crash-related injuries involving large vehicles like trucks and buses annually.

Many traffic collisions with semi-trucks and other large vehicles can be avoided by familiarizing yourself with them. Learning about their blind spots and knowing how to make yourself visible is an important way to keep yourself and other drivers out of harm’s way — though visibility isn’t everything.

Simply knowing how to share the road with semi-trucks by being patient, considerate, and understanding of the fact that these vehicles are large and unwieldy is something every driver should do. After all, driving etiquette must be maintained to keep the road safe.

Here are some handy tips to keep in mind to keep yourself out of harm’s way.

Avoid Driving in Their Blind Spots

sharing the road with semi trucks
Although semi-trucks are massive vehicles that lift drivers higher off the ground, it’s surprisingly difficult to look at your surroundings when you’re inside one.

Although semi-trucks are massive vehicles that lift drivers higher off the ground, it’s surprisingly difficult to look at your surroundings when you’re inside one. They have much larger blind spots than most vehicles because they’re so high up — an unfortunate drawback that’s inevitable due to the truck’s massive size.

Oversized vehicles like semi-trucks usually have four major blind spots that other drivers should avoid: the rear of the truck, the front of the truck, the lane directly to the left of the truck, and several lanes on the right side of the truck.

Be Patient

It’s important to give trucks the right of way simply because of how massive they are, not to mention the fact that they’re hauling heavy, unwieldy cargo that makes it difficult to maneuver. It’s not a good idea to tempt fate just to shave some time spent on the road, especially since a collision is bound to be a lot more dangerous for you than whoever is in the truck.

Be considerate and patient enough to let trucks take as long as they need rather than honking your horn to tell them to hurry up. Likewise, it’s a terrible idea to try and overtake one at high speeds.

Don’t Cut Them Off

It’s important to be patient and avoid overtaking trucks — even if you feel like you can outspeed one easily. The direct front of the truck is a blind spot. Rear-end collisions with a semi-truck are bound to be disastrous, especially on the highway. It’s best to drive on a different lane entirely.


If you absolutely have to cut off the semi-truck, make sure there’s a lot of open space in front of it. Stay out of its blind spot and pass in front of it, all while keeping a significant distance from the vehicle. This way, the truck driver will be able to see you.

Drive Predictably and Use Your Signals

Driving in a way that lets others know your intentions is the key to responsible and safe driving, minimizing the risk of accidents by letting others know where you intend to go. This means driving at steady speeds without pulling over all of a sudden or slamming the brakes.

Similarly, using your turn signals is a very good way to let other drivers know what you plan to do ahead of time. By communicating your intentions, other drivers can slow down to accommodate you, preventing what could potentially be a traffic collision.

Keep Your Distance

Because semi-trucks are so big and difficult to maneuver, it’s important to give them as much space as possible. This is because they turn and brake slowly in addition to having great stopping distances.

If you have to drive in front of a truck, try to give yourself approximately five lengths of cars worth of space. Not only does this let the truck driver know that you’re in front of them, but it also gives them enough time to adjust their speed if ever you slow down or skid out of control.

Pass Quickly

If you have no choice but to enter a semi-truck’s blind spot to try and drive past it, do it as quickly as possible. The more time you spend in a vehicle’s blind spot, the more likely it is you’ll get into an accident. To minimize the risk of a collision, try to drive closer toward the shoulder of the road as opposed to the truck when passing it.

Stay Alert and Drive Defensively

Because semi-trucks are so big, they’re understandably harder to stop. They’re also less likely to swivel and turn, unable to react as quickly as a regular vehicle. It’s best to drive defensively to avoid putting yourself in harm’s way.

At the same time, it’s important to avoid any distractions that could take your attention off of your surroundings.

Turn on Your Headlights When It’s Dark

Since visibility can be low when driving at night or inside a dark tunnel, it’s important to activate your vehicle’s headlights. Not only does this illuminate your surroundings and improve visibility, but it also lets other drivers know you’re nearby. This is important for semi-truck drivers because their ability to see other vehicles is bad enough as is.

Bear in mind that if you intend to use your high beams, it’s important to only use them when you’re certain you’re alone. Turning on your high beams near other vehicles without dimming them can potentially hamper the vision of other drivers.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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