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The California DMV Driver Handbook
LARGE TRUCKS AND
To reduce the chance of an accident
with a large truck or RV, motorists must be familiar
with a big rigs physical capabilities and how
Large trucks take longer to stop than a car traveling at the same speed. The average passenger vehicle traveling at 55 mph can stop in about 400 feet. However, a large truck traveling at the same speed can take almost 800 feet to stop. Dont pull in front of a large truck and suddenly slow down or stop. The trucker will not be able to stop quickly enough to avoid crashing into you.
For all turning vehicles, the rear
wheels follow a shorter path than the front wheels.
The longer the vehicle, the greater the difference.
This is why big rig drivers must often swing wide to
complete a right turn. When you follow a big rig, look
at its turn signals before you start to pass. If you
think the truck is turning leftwait a second and
check the turn signals again. The driver may actually
be turning right.
Passenger vehicle drivers incorrectly
assume that a trucker can see the road better because
they are higher off the road. While truckers do have
a better forward view and bigger mirrors, they still
have serious blind spots. Your vehicle can get lost
in those blind spots. If you stay in those blind spots
you block the truckers ability to take evasive
action to avoid a dangerous situation. Generally speaking,
if you cant see the truck driver in his or her
side mirror, he or she cant see you. These blind
spots are often called the NO ZONE.
Trucks are designed to transport products
and they are not as maneuverable as passenger vehicles.
Large trucks have longer stopping and starting distances.
They take more space for turns and they weigh more.
On multilane highways and freeways, large trucks usually
stay in the center portion of the lane to help the flow
of traffic. This also increases the truckers options
in case he or she must change lanes to avoid a hazard.
Here are some of the most common mistakes passenger
vehicle drivers must avoid when driving around large
- Cutting off a truck in traffic or on the highway
to reach your exit or turn. Cutting into the open
space in front of a truck is dangerous. Trying to
beat a truck through a single-lane construction zone,
for example, removes the truck drivers cushion
of safety and places you in danger. Slow down and
take your turn entering the construction zone. Dont
speed up to pass a truck so you can exit the roadway.
Take a moment to slow down and exit behind a truckit
will only take you a few extra seconds.
- Dont linger alongside a truck when passing.
Always pass a large truck on the left side and after
you pass the truck, move ahead of it. Dont linger.
If you linger beside the truck, you make it very difficult,
if not impossible, for the trucker to take evasive
action if an obstacle appears in the road ahead.
- Following too closely or tailgating. When
you follow behind a truck and you cannot see the truck
drivers side view mirrors, the trucker has no
way of knowing you are there. Tailgating a truck,
or any vehicle, is dangerous because you take away
your own cushion of safety. Where will you go when
the vehicle in front of you stops quickly?
- Never underestimate the size and speed of an
approaching tractor-trailer. A large tractor-trailer
often appears to be traveling at a slower speed because
of its large size. Many passenger vehicle vs. large
truck accidents take place at intersections because
the passenger vehicle driver did not realize how close
the truck was or how quickly it was traveling.
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