What to Avoid When Driving Next to a Truck

A white truck on the highway.

Driving is a complex process and requires a certain level of caution and awareness. When driving next to trucks, additional factors come into play. With their large size, limited visibility, and limited maneuverability, it can be intimidating to share the road with them.

Here are some statistics on truck-involved accidents you should know and critical tips on what to avoid.

Truck-Involved Accident Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the following statistics were reported regarding large truck-involved accidents in 2020 nationwide:

  • 439,206 truck-involved accidents occurred, resulting in 146,930 injuries and 4,965 fatalities.
  • 71% of fatalities from truck-involved accidents were occupants of other vehicles.
  • 3% of drivers in fatal truck-involved accidents had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.08%.

The Dangers of Driving Next to a Truck

Limited Visibility

Truck drivers have limited visibility due to the size and height of their trucks. This means they will have difficulty seeing vehicles in front of them or the blind spots around the truck.

To help ensure your safety while driving near a truck, give them plenty of space, and don’t hesitate to pull over if you need to get out of their way quickly. If possible, try not to drive directly in front of a truck, as they may not be able to see you until it is too late.


No-zones refer to the area around a truck where other vehicles should avoid being at all times since it is difficult for the truck driver to see what’s happening there. These no-zones include areas directly behind the cab (within 200 ft), directly in front of the cab (within 25 ft), and on both sides of the trailer.

Try your best not to linger in these areas as much as possible when sharing the road with trucks, and keep an eye out for any signs warning drivers about no-zone areas ahead. Additionally, you should only move over in front of a truck if you are a few car lengths ahead of the truck to ensure that the driver can see you and adjust accordingly,

Limited Manueverability

All trucks have more limited maneuverability than passenger vehicles simply due to their size and weight. If a truck has brake issues or is going too fast for the weather or road conditions, the potential for an accident increases significantly.

Always leave plenty of distance between yourself and any trucks on the road so that if an accident does occur, you will have time to react accordingly. When pulling out in front of a truck, whether to switch lanes or when turning on a road, ensure that you are not accidentally cutting off the truck as they are less equipped to stop or slow down suddenly.

Flying Objects

Have you ever been driving down the highway behind a truck and seen debris, trash, snow, or a tire fly off? Whenever something the truck is hauling or a piece of equipment on the truck becomes loose, these quickly become serious risks to the drivers’ control of the vehicle and other vehicles on the road.

Road Gators

Road gators are probably one of the most well-known things to come off of a truck. Road gators are pieces of tires that can become dislodged from passing cars or trucks due to their speed or height on the road surface. These can cause serious damage if they hit another vehicle; however, they can also be difficult for drivers to spot due to their small size and how close they stay to ground level. Be mindful when driving near trucks since these gators may be present without you noticing until after it’s too late.

Truck Accident Attorneys in Winston-Salem

It’s crucial that you exercise extra caution when sharing the road with big rigs or other commercial vehicles like box trucks or flatbed trailers since there are many potential risks involved, such as limited visibility, maneuverability, flying objects, and more.

However, sometimes even taking all necessary precautions isn’t enough—if you find yourself involved in an accident because someone else was negligent while operating a commercial vehicle, then hiring an experienced truck accident attorney may be your best course of action moving forward. At Comerford Chilson & Moser, our team is here to help you.

Contact us at (336) 568-8779 or submit our confidential form to schedule a free consultation. We will answer any questions you may have regarding your case. If your claim is accepted, we will begin reviewing your case's facts immediately.

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