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Passing a truck on the left in first person POV

How to Pass a Semi-Truck

It’s no secret that car drivers cause the majority of trucking crashes involving multiple vehicles. The most common cause of these crashes? Poor passing and merging technique. To help prevent more of these terrible crashes, we’ve put together this guide explaining how to pass a semi-truck.

The Approach

Don’t wait until you’re right behind a truck to pass them. When you see a truck ahead, try to get over as soon as it is safe to do so. Most semi-trucks go 15-20 mph under the speed limit, and they’re not going to change. Once you understand this, you can be proactive in truck passing.

Highway truck drivers are focused on the long-term. They’re scanning for cars that are far behind them and miles ahead of them. By changing lanes early, you give the trucker the best possible chance to see you approach.

At the same time, the no-zone prevents truckers from seeing 30-feet behind their trailer. If you pull out behind a truck and drive alongside them, they may have no idea that you’re there at all.

The Pass

While driving alongside a semi-truck, try to pass their cab as quickly as possible. A truck driver’s mirrors are pointed at traffic directly behind them, not alongside their trailer.

When you pass a truck, you need to commit to the action. If you drive in their no-zone for too long, they may lose track of you and attempt to merge into your lane if they need to pass a slower truck.

The Merge

Once you’ve passed the truck, you need to make sure there’s enough space to safely merge back into your lane. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make when passing a truck; they pass, then immediately merge back in front of the truck and hit the brakes. The truck driver cannot see anything directly in front of them, and their vehicle is so large they can’t slow down fast enough to avoid a crash.

As a rule of thumb, check your mirrors. If you can see the top of the truck in your mirrors, it’s probably safe to merge back into their lane. If you back and see nothing but their grill, you need more distance.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a truck crash, we can help. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with an experienced auto injury attorney from Dunk Law Firm, please don’t hesitate to call (800) 674-9339 or send us an email.


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