Tips for sharing the road with commercial trucks in Alaska

Learn the right way to drive with commercial trucks on the road with a few tips.

Most drivers know all too well to use extreme caution when driving near commercial trucks in Alaska. That being said, it is sometimes common for drivers to lull themselves into a false sense of security or simply forget how dangerous 18-wheelers and large commercial trucks can be. To avoid trucking accidents, motorists should brush up on a few safety tips for navigating their way around large vehicles.

Know a truck's blind spots

While all vehicles have blind spots, trucks have some of the largest. Specifically, drivers should make sure they can always see the truck's side mirror. If they cannot, chances are that the driver cannot see them. Motorists should either decelerate or pass the truck if and when they get the chance to do so.

Resist dangerous urges

Because commercial trucks are so big and slow, many drivers sometimes engage in unsafe behaviors to pass them, such as suddenly accelerating to get ahead of a truck if it is going to shift into the driver's lane. Even though this maneuver is understandable, it is also quite dangerous. Drivers should always resist such urges to reduce their chances of being involved in an accident.

Give trucks space

Due to the sheer size of a truck, it cannot maneuver as nimbly or as quickly as a smaller vehicle. Motorists should make sure they never dart in front of a large truck or follow too closely behind a truck. While the truck driver might react in time to brake, it still takes a while to bring the large vehicle to a complete stop.

Beware of turning trucks

Trucks also need more clearance when it comes to turning, which means wider turns. Drivers behind turning truck drivers as well as drivers on the road a truck is about to turn onto should give the truck a wide berth so they have plenty of room to complete their turn successfully. Without enough space, truck drivers have to maneuver their vehicles back and forth to avoid hitting cars, which can jam traffic.

Exercise patience

Commercial truck operators do not always drive under the same conditions as regular motor vehicle drivers. For instance, they might have certain restrictors or speed limitations that do not match regular speed limits to avoid causing personal injury. This means motorists should not drive aggressively around trucks that are not going as fast as they might like.

Alaskan drivers should know that not all truck drivers or companies are as careful as they should be. Any motorist involved in an accident with a truck is better off working with a lawyer to explore their legal rights.