If everyone exercised a degree of caution, respect and understanding for their fellow drivers at all times, our roads would be considerably safer, but sadly there are tragic accidents each and every day and many of these are due to a momentary lapse of concentration or a simple lack of knowledge on how to avert a potential disaster.
Large commercial vehicles require specialist driving skills and qualifications in order to drive them and whilst those drivers themselves may understand how their vehicle will behave and manoeuvre, it can also be beneficial for ordinary car drivers to understand the characteristics and weak points of these larger vehicles that they are sharing the roadways with.
Here are some of the key points and differences to consider and remember so that you can hopefully enjoy a safer journey.
Be wary of blind spots
One of the main things to remember is that in the unfortunate event of a collision with a larger vehicle, it is almost always the smaller vehicle which will fare the worst and a lot of accidents result from a vehicle entering the blind spot of a truck or bus.
Drivers of large vehicles have the luxury of suitably large mirrors to give them a greater range of vision but there are inevitably going to be blind spots where they simply cannot see you in their slipstream, so remember to look for their mirrors and take the view that if you cannot see the driver then they almost certainly can’t see you either.
Be extra vigilant when driving directly behind large vehicles
In addition to the obvious problem of blind spots when travelling directly behind a large vehicle you should be extra vigilant as these vehicles generate greater air turbulence and create a considerable amount of spray in wet conditions.
Allow plenty of distance to avoid being affected by any turbulence and make sure that you clear your windscreen regularly to avoid any vision problems.
Allow plenty of breaking distance
One of the most annoying actions displayed by a fellow driver is tailgating and not only is it likely to cause anger and resentment it can also have disastrous consequences.
Tailgating is not something that should be done under any circumstances but it is particularly dangerous when you are directly behind a large vehicle, especially if they are moving slowly on an incline.
It has to be remembered that when a driver of a large vehicle removes their foot from the brake pedal in order to accelerate it can cause the vehicle to roll back as much as 15 feet so you would not want to be directly behind it if this occurred.
Never forget to use your signal indicators
It is always a sign of a good driver when they constantly use their signal indicators to ensure that their fellow road users are well aware of their intentions and it is even more important when it comes to indicating so that a large vehicle is aware of your movements.
Signalling in plenty of time when you are driving in front of a large vehicle will help that driver to anticipate your move in plenty of time and avoid any sudden braking or swerving on their part if you were to suddenly change lanes or turn without warning by using your signal indicators.
Make allowances for wider turns on larger vehicles
You no doubt appreciate that a larger vehicle is taking up a greater amount of space on the highway but it is still essential that you make allowances for this when you see them turning as they will require more space due to making a wider than average turn.
Always allow them the space they need to manoeuvre and never allow yourself to be caught between a turning vehicle and the curb.
Be extra wary of a large vehicle that is reversing
One of the most dangerous periods for accidents is when a large vehicle is reversing and it is because of this that many of these drivers often need some assistance to complete the process safely.
If you come across a large vehicle that is reversing directly in front of you or in space that you intended to move into, do not attempt to anticipate their move and wait until they have finished before attempting to get past them, so that a collision can be avoided.
Maintain a respectful attitude
It is often easier said than done when you witness some driving acts but if you try to maintain a respectful attitude towards other drivers it should help to promote a reciprocal response from the majority of other road users.
Driving with safety in mind and trying to show respect to other road users will help to allow insurance providers like Calgary auto insurance offer better rates if there are fewer accidents and fewer claims as a result.
John Wilber is a truck driver with several years under his hat. When he’s not hitting the highways and byways of Canada, he likes to write about various topics to post online.