Sharing the Road with Big Vehicles | Tips from the California Driver Handbook

Defensive Driving |

Sharing the road with large vehicles, such as trucks and buses, requires extra care and attention. These vehicles have unique characteristics and limitations that all drivers should understand to ensure safety on the road. In this article, we will summarize key points from the California Driver Handbook to help you navigate the highways and streets alongside big vehicles responsibly and safely.

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Understanding Big Vehicles

Respect Their Size

Large vehicles are more massive, longer, and taller than typical passenger cars. Recognizing their size is the first step in safe road sharing. Avoid cutting in front of them and give them ample space.

Watch Their Blind Spots

Big vehicles have significant blind spots, often referred to as “no-zones.” These areas are where the driver’s view is limited or obstructed. Be cautious when driving in these zones and stay visible to the truck or bus driver.

Sharing the Road Safely with Big Vehicles

Maintain a Safe Following Distance

Large vehicles require more stopping distance. To avoid rear-end collisions, maintain a safe following distance. Use the “Every 10mph=1 Car Length Rule” to calculate your distance from the vehicle in front.  For diving safety, consider giving yourself extra spacing when following big vehicles.

LEARN MORE: Safe Spacing

Avoid Tailgating

Tailgating is dangerous, especially when following a large vehicle. Stay back to ensure you have a clear view of the road ahead and provide the truck or bus with room to maneuver if needed.

Pass Safely

When passing a big vehicle, do so carefully and quickly. Make sure you can see the entire front of the truck or bus in your rearview mirror before merging back into your lane. Do not pass on the right unless it’s safe and legal.

Watch for Wide Turns

Large vehicles need more space to make turns. Be patient and give them room when they are turning, especially in intersections. Avoid passing them on the right while they are making a right turn.

Take Extra Caution on Hills

Big vehicles may lose speed on steep inclines. Avoid tailgating on hills, and if you are behind a slow-moving truck, exercise patience and wait for a safe opportunity to pass.

Be Cautious in Inclement Weather

Rain, snow, and fog can reduce visibility and road traction. Large vehicles may have a harder time stopping, so maintain a greater distance and reduce your speed when driving in adverse weather conditions.

LEARN MORE: Safe Driving in Adverse Weather Conditions

Sharing the road with big vehicles is a crucial aspect of safe driving. By following the guidelines outlined in the California Driver Handbook, we can minimize the risks associated with driving alongside trucks and buses. Responsible driving ensures that all road users, regardless of their vehicle size, can reach their destinations safely. Let’s commit to being patient, alert, and considerate drivers when sharing the road with these substantial vehicles, promoting road safety for everyone.

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