Teen drivers are still learning the basics and getting comfortable with their new skills when they first take to the road. Add in a traffic mix including cars, motorcycles and large semi-trucks, and things can get more complicated. In fact, according to the IIHS, about 1 in 10 highway deaths occur in crashes involving a large truck. One of the most important lessons new drivers can learn is how to safely share the road with large vehicles.
Here are a few tips for teens:
- Consider size and speed. The larger and heavier the vehicle, the more time and space it needs to come to a complete stop. In fact, tractor trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and could take over 450 feet to safely come to a complete rest. Keep this in mind when you’re changing lanes or merging in front of a large truck. Give those drivers the space to see you, and to stop or slow down. They can’t just slam on the brakes!
- What can be seen? Blind spots can contribute to collisions, and a semi-truck has much more significant blind spots than a small passenger vehicle. Always check blind spots before changing lanes, and always take care when you’re driving in a truck’s blind spots.
- Caution on turns. Following the same theme, when driving near larger vehicles and trucks, you must remember that they need more space to make turns. Have you ever been stopped behind a truck at a light and noticed a “wide right turns” sign on the bumper? These trucks need more space to safely maneuver around corners, so make sure to give them the time and distance to safely get around tight spots!
Florida teens can complete their Drug & Alcohol course and learner’s permit test with GDL Institute for even more tips and instruction on safe driving techniques. What other advice would you give to drivers about how to safely share the road?