Take a second to look at everything around you. Nearly 70% of what you just saw was transported via the U.S. Trucking Industry. Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) fuel our economy, transport people and move the products we need to live. CMVs you might see on the road include semi-trucks, box trucks, busses and travel trailers. But what many people don’t know is the skill it takes to drive one of these puppies.
So, why should you care about CMVs? Because sharing the road safely with them could help you avoid a serious crash. CMVs are tricky to maneuver and require lots of space on the road, and we often forget that. The same rules you use with passenger cars cannot be applied to large vehicles carrying upwards of 80,000 lbs.
Save some space.
It takes the average car about 300 feet to stop when traveling 65 mph. As for a CMV carrying hundreds of pounds, more than 600 feet is needed (FMCSA). That’s just shy of two football fields. When you enter a lane in front of a large vehicle, make sure you give them plenty of room. Also, leave the left lane open when CMVs are turning right. Wide loads require wide turns.
Beware of blind spots
A CMV can be anywhere from 35 to 70 feet long and nearly 14 feet tall. When you take up that much space, it’s hard to see everything around you. Commercial motor vehicles have many blind spots, and it’s important that you’re aware of them. Avoid driving directly in front of the vehicle, directly behind the vehicle and beside the rearview mirrors. If you need to pass, use the left lane and do so as quickly as the speed limit will allow—the less time you spend in a blind spot, the better.
Pass with patience
A little patience can go a long way. When a large vehicle is hauling people or heavy products, acceleration takes longer. CMVs also need to travel around corners and ramps at slower speeds because their center of gravity is higher. It may feel frustrating to wait for them, but it’s a lot easier than dealing with a crash or rollover.