Large Trucks & Buses
Alaska Other Regulations
You are at a serious disadvantage if involved in a crash with a larger vehicle. In large truck crashes, the occupants of a car, usually the driver, sustain 78% of fatalities. To keep you and your family safe when driving around large trucks and buses, you should be extra cautious. Sharing the road with larger vehicles can be dangerous if you are not aware of their limitations.
Large trucks and buses do not operate like cars. They are so large that accelerating, slowing down, or stopping takes more time and much more space than any other vehicle on the road. They have large blind spots, make wide turns, and are not as maneuverable. If they come upon an unexpected traffic situation, there may not be enough room for them to avoid a crash. Here are a few tips to help you drive safer to prevent a crash.
STAY OUT OF THE “NO-ZONE”
Watch out for the No-Zone around large trucks and buses. The No-Zone represents the blind spots around the front, back, and sides of trucks and buses where crashes are more likely to occur because truck drivers have limited visibility. Because of a truck’s size, truck drivers must react faster than car drivers in emergency situations. If faced with a potential front-end crash, the truck driver may turn into your lane not knowing you are there. So be safe and don’t hang out in the No-Zone. Remember, if you can’t see the truck or bus driver in their side mirrors, they can’t see you.
DON’T CUT IN FRONT OF TRUCKS
If you cut in front of another vehicle, you may create an emergency-braking situation for the vehicles around you, especially in heavy traffic. Trucks and buses take much longer to stop in comparison to cars. A car traveling at 55 mph can stop in about 130 to 140 feet, however a truck needs 400 feet to stop. Truck drivers leave extra room behind the vehicles they follow. If you move into that space and have to brake suddenly, you cut the trucks available stopping distance in half — placing you and your passengers in danger.
When a car is hit from behind by a truck the results are too often deadly. Trucks are not equipped with the same type of energy-absorbing bumpers as cars. More than 60% of fatal car/truck crashes involve impacts with the front of the truck.
Anticipate the flow of traffic before pulling in front of trucks. When passing, look for the whole front of the truck in your rear-view mirror before pulling in front of the truck, and then don’t slow down!
Large trucks are almost as wide as your lane of travel. Driving too close behind a truck prevents you from seeing and reacting to changing traffic conditions. You won’t notice a slow down on the highway, debris in the road, or a crash until it is a braking emergency. If there is a problem ahead, your first hint will be the truck’s brake lights. If you happen to be distracted or fatigued, you may not be able to react in time. If you hit the rear of a truck you’ll quickly learn that trucks are unforgiving. Trucks do not have impact-absorbing bumpers and their metal bumpers may not align with yours. So be smart and give yourself plenty of room; more than you would for a passenger vehicle.
TRUCKS MAKE WIDE RIGHT TURNS
Be careful of trucks making wide right turns. If you get in between the truck and the curb, you’ll be caught in a “squeeze” and can suffer a serious collision. Truck drivers sometimes need to swing wide to the left so that they can safely negotiate a right turn especially in urban areas. They can’t see cars directly behind or beside them. Cutting in between the truck and the curb increases the possibility of a crash. So pay attention to truck signals, and give them lots of room to maneuver.