Odds are very high that you have shared the road with 18 wheelers, especially on the highways of Hampton Roads with commercial vehicles transporting containers from one of our four marine terminals on a regular basis. If you clutch the wheel tighter or get panicked right next to a semi, big rig, 18-wheeler, or tractor-trailer, you are not alone! The good news is that there are extra precautions you can take as a driver to stay safe while driving next to these herculean vehicles.

Here are some tips that can help you safely share the road with large trucks and avoid potentially life-threatening accidents.


Because vehicles like semis and tractor-trailers are bigger, they inherently have bigger blind spots. There are four blind spots, also known as “no-zones,” that are located in the very front, back, and both sides of the vehicle. Do your best to avoid these areas by passing quickly or moving over to a different lane. It is suggested to pass large trucks on the left as the blind spot is smaller on that side. A good rule of thumb to remember is if you can’t see a truck driver in their side-view mirror, they probably can’t see you!


Tailgating is always dangerous, but it’s even more so when driving behind a large truck. This is because big trucks weigh more, therefore they require more time to stop. To avoid colliding with a big truck in front of you, always increase your buffer to at least four seconds between you and a commercial vehicle. This way, you have adequate time to stop, and you can also be prepared should the truck experience a tire blowout or rollover accident caused by improperly loaded cargo.


As mentioned above, big trucks need more time to stop, turn, or merge. You should never cut off 18 wheelers and always give the truck driver adequate notice of what your next move will be so that they can make any adjustments. For instance, signal for at least three seconds before merging into a lane in front of a big truck so that the truck driver has time to brake.


Distracted drivers are dangerous drivers! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines distracted driving as anything that takes your hands off of the wheel (manual), eyes off of the road (visual), and mind off of the task of driving (cognitive). Road conditions can change in the blink of an eye, especially around big trucks, so it’s important that you eliminate driving distractions before you even get on the road and stay alert!


Lastly, you should always be on the defensive when you are behind the wheel, especially when sharing the road with a large truck. This means that you should never just assume that the truck driver sees you or will yield to do. Instead, always expect the unexpected and be ready to make any last-minute maneuvers behind the wheel that may be necessary to avoid a collision. Many accidents with large trucks are side-swipe collisions which can be caused when a truck drifts into an adjacent lane possibly from high winds.


At Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law, PLLC, we know from experience that even the safest drivers who take all the necessary precautions around big trucks can still be injured in accidents due to negligent truckers or their employers. It only takes one mistake to cause a devasting crash. If you or a loved one is ever in this situation, know that we are here to take the burden off your shoulders.

We will leave no stone unturned when investigating your truck accident case to determine liability, build a solid case on your behalf, and fight for your maximum compensation. Let our family help yours during these difficult times.

Contact our team at (757) 599-6050 to get started with a free case evaluation. While our main office is located in Newport News, we do have an office in Virginia Beach and serve clients in Hampton Roads and surrounding areas.


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