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Staying safe while driving near 18-wheelers

Truck Blind Spots
Posted at 10:46 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 11:17:47-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — When you see an 18-wheeler on the freeway you might try to fly by it, but truckers say that patience with them is the most important thing to have.

"These trucks are big and heavy," Mark Henley with Southwest Truck Driver Training said. "They don't maneuver real fast it takes a bit time to make maneuvers. So be patient with them. They obviously take a bit more space than a normal car does."

Henley said that they teach their students to drive defensively, but they need help from other vehicles on the road.

"Try not to make sudden stops in front of them," Henley said. "They got great brakes on them, but all that weight takes time and distance to stop."

One of the other concerns is the number and size of blind spots on 18-wheelers.

Kate Kosse drove trucks for over 20 years and said the driver has to rely on their mirrors to see you on the sides of the truck. She added that staying a safe distance behind the truck is also important to avoid underride car accidents and tire tread.

"You don't want to be behind a tire tread when that happens," Kosse said. "Even just a small piece coming off your car can be a major accident."

Kosse also said that when you do pass a truck, make sure to pass on the left side to avoid a bigger blind spot. She also recommends that drivers have their lights on when it is raining so the truck can see you through the rain.

"An accident with a truck, even if it's not the truck drivers' fault, is usually terrible because of the difference in size," Kosse said. "I don't know any driver that doesn't want to avoid that accident, but they do need a little bit of help from the cars around them to avoid that accident."