Tips to Respectfully Navigate our Truck-Filled Highways

Big rigs can take over five times longer than the average passenger vehicle to come to a full stop. Consider this, add poor weather conditions, and toss a few distracted drivers into the mix and you'll have a recipe for disaster.

While passenger-car operators can quickly get frustrated over the position, pace, or action of a tractor trailer driver, remember that safety should always be the top focus. Here are a few tips to ensure travel safety on truck-filled roads and how to avoid getting into an accident with one of the behemoths:

1. Their Blind Spot is Bigger than Yours: Heed the warning labels on the back of trailers that mention large blind spots and the need to take wide turns. Sudden lane changes in the midst of big trucks is especially dangerous.

2. Pass Only on the Left: Truck drivers will have an easier time seeing you on the driver's (left) side of the vehicle. It is also the legal move. The left lane is legally for passing only in most states, so return to the right lane after passing and when it is safe to do so.

3. Avoid Cutting Trucks (or any Vehicle) Off: Plan ahead. Don't narrowly pass a truck (or any vehicle) to make your exit. It can result in a couple of angry drivers or worse. Go on to the next exit.

4. Give and Take: If a truck allows you a successful merge, allow that vehicle to move back into its original lane. You can use your hazard lights *briefly* to thank the trucker when you are just ahead of them. You can also turn your headlights on/off quickly to give a trucker the "go ahead" in a passing situation.

5. Following Distance: This is one of, if not the, most important road rules in existence. Keeping an appropriate following distance can not only help you avoid accidents, but prevent road rage and keep your stress levels down while driving. This is especially true when driving near wide or other dangerous loads.