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Keeping Safe With Trucks

No matter how commonplace it may be, it’s important to remember that driving is really a very dangerous activity. It can be safe enough so long as you and everyone else on the road follows the rules, but when it comes to trucks, buses, and trains, there are a few extra tips you may not be aware of which you should keep in mind if you want to stay safe.

Beware Of High Fenders



Trucks, including 18-wheelers, pickups, and SUVs, are designed to different standards than regular cars, and that includes having a higher clearance off the road. This allows them to climb over higher obstacles than a car can manage, but in order to do that their fenders are higher up than the fenders on a car. This means that your vehicle’s first defense in a front or rear collision won’t work, and in fact the truck’s fender may deal significant damage to your trunk or your engine while leaving the larger vehicle relatively unharmed. As such, while you should always keep your distance from the cars in front of and behind you, this fact bears extra weight when a truck is involved.

Watch For Wide Turns



American roads are designed primarily for cars and other vehicles of a certain maximum length and width, essentially anything that can fit into a standard parking space. There are plenty of oversized vehicles on the road, of course, such as large trucks and buses, but their ability to maneuver, especially around right turns, is awkward at best. If an 18-wheeler has to make a right turn onto a two-lane road or a narrow on-ramp, it may need more space than what the lines provide. As such, if you’re near a large truck when it’s making a right turn, you may be better off ignoring the lines yourself in order to give it the room it needs.

Use Your Eyes To Find Trains



Trains can be remarkably hard to hear coming considering their size and weight, which is why they usually blow their horn so long as they’re in a city. As such, the primary sense you need to use when you’re at a train crossing is your eyes: you should always at least glance both ways before crossing a railroad. You may place your trust in the flashing lights and the ringing bell of a railway crossing, but automatic safeguards can sometimes break down. Trains are always worth a little more attention than normal, because no matter what it is you’re driving, the train will always win.

Keep Control On The Highway



At high speeds, vehicles create something called a slipstream. Basically, your vehicle pushes the air in front of it over the top and along the sides, leaving a wake of calm air directly behind you and turbulent air to either side. Big vehicles, such as trucks, naturally end up moving more air around than cars and motorcycles, and so the truck’s slipstream can knock your vehicle around pretty badly if you’re not prepared for it.

As the saying goes, you’re always sharing the road with others, and it’s important to remember that some are more dangerous than others. While it may be better to wind up in an accident that isn’t your fault, the best accident is always the one you avoid.