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As a car driver you might think that the best way to avoid not having to drive alongside a truck is by making an abrupt lane change in front of them with little or no warning. But the reality is it’s important for truck operators and other motorists to work together and share roads, instead of working against one another. This is because rash decisions on the road don’t always turn into small regrets you can brush off later. Rather, they can result in a dangerous collision you can’t reverse.

According to data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 88 trucks were involved in fatal crashes Michigan in 2017. This number accounts for nearly 6% of all fatal motor vehicle wrecks in the state that year. And, across the country, there has been a steady increase in these types of fatalities from 2008 to 2017. Since these accidents happen in Michigan and are on the rise across the nation, it’s crucial that car drivers do all they can to try and prevent a dangerous collision.

How should I drive around semi-trucks?

As a motorist with far less than 18 wheels, you might feel like your small size makes you helpless when it comes to protecting yourself from hitting a truck. But, being conscious about the way you maneuver around a moving truck can ultimately save your life.

Here are three tips to keep in mind as you drive past trucks:

  1. Pass with care: Instead of passing on either side of a truck, try only passing on the left. Passing on the side that the driver sits can help you maximize your visibility. Just like you, truck drivers have blind spots, only theirs are much larger.
  2. Move away: When the weather is rainy or snowy and you are slipping and sliding, you could lose control and end up underneath a truck. To reduce this hazard, you can try and spend as little time as possible driving near trucks.
  3. Warn the driver: If you are in front of a truck driver and need to slow down for an emergency or to take a turn, be sure to give as much of an advanced warning as possible. This is a good tactic when you share the road with anyone, but it is especially important to do near trucks because their heavier loads make for longer braking distances.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the choices you make while driving can help you maintain your safety.