Although most big-truck drivers are pros, the size and mechanics of their rigs create driving challenges a motorist may not think about as a car driver.
These tips from Better Homes and Gardens magazine will help drivers anticipate and avoid problems.Most cars traveling 60 mph on a dry road can stop in 140 to 150 feet. A tractor-trailer may take twice that distance or more. Tip: Once a big rig has been passed don't cut in sharply. Leave a large margin of safety.
Truck drivers can't see a motorist driving in the center directly behind the truck or just beneath and several feet to the rear of the truck's right-hand mirror. Tip: Stay out of those blind spots, particularly on high-speed highways.
Especially with older trucks, the driver must use the left foot on the clutch and the right foot on both brake and accelerator. Tip: On inclines, there's a risk of a backward roll. Motorists should leave at least 20 or 30 feet between their car and any truck that is going very slowly or is stopped on a two-lane road.
Lots of dents, dirt or other signs of neglect on a truck could mean hidden problems as well, like worn tires or brakes. Tip: Allow plenty of space when following or passing such a vehicle.
Although dump-truck loads are quite stable, liquid tankers and livestock carriers can sway sideways considerably as their loads shift even on moderate turns. Top-heavy rigs are susceptible to crosswinds.