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What drivers need to know about safely passing semi-trucks

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2023 | Truck Accidents

On high-speed roads, like interstates, large commercial vehicles are often subject to lower speed limits than other vehicles. They need to stay in the right lane and maintain a slower speed. Drivers who encounter semi-trucks in traffic may, therefore, wish to pass them to drive at or possibly even over the speed limit to stay with the overall flow of traffic.

Unfortunately, passing a semi-truck is one of the most dangerous maneuvers that a motorist can complete on a highway or other high-speed roads. Little mistakes can end up causing catastrophic consequences for those who wish to maneuver around a semi-truck in traffic. What makes passing a semi-truck so dangerous?

The blind spot for the passenger vehicle

When people talk about semi-truck blind spots, the focus is often on what the commercial driver cannot see. However, semi-trucks also create a blind spot for the vehicles following them in traffic. A motorist will usually be unable to see oncoming traffic directly ahead of the semi-truck. They might begin to pass, only to encounter oncoming traffic and end up either side-swiping the truck or in a head-on collision with another vehicle.

The risk of an override crash

Semi-trucks are so big that they take longer than the average vehicle to speed up or slow down. The increased stopping distance for a semi-truck is particularly risky for those passing a commercial vehicle. If they merge back into traffic in front of the semi-truck without leaving adequate space, the semi-truck might quickly overtake them. The truck might end up causing an override crash after striking the passenger vehicle from behind. Those passing a truck therefore need to leave plenty of space and attempt to maintain a faster rate of speed than the commercial vehicle they just passed.

Employing best practices when attempting to pass a semi-truck could take a lot of the risk out of that specific traffic maneuver. Yet, no action on a road comes without risk. As a result, it’s important to understand that in the event of a crash, seeking legal guidance about one’s rights and options is always an opportunity available to injury victims.


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