TXDOT reminds drivers to be cautious driving near trucks

Two Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper vehicles sit next to a welcome sign Monday, March 30, 2020, in Orange, Texas, near the Louisiana state border. Texas is ratcheting up restrictions on neighboring Louisiana, one of the growing hot spots for the coronavirus in the U.S. Just two days after Texas began requiring airline passengers from New Orleans to comply with a two-week quarantine, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said state troopers will now also patrol highway entry points at the Louisiana border. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) is reminding drivers to be cautious when driving around large trucks and tractor-trailers.

The transportation department is advising drivers that tractor-trailers weigh 20 times more than an average car and need more time to accelerate and decelerate and have large blind spots. Motorists need to be aware of these factors to avoid deadly crashes.

The blind spots for trucks is around the front, back, and sides. The transportation department says a good rule of thumb for drivers to remember is that if they can’t see the truck driver in the side mirror of the truck, the truck driver probably can’t see them either.

According to TXDOT, an 80,000-pound, loaded tractor-trailer going 65 miles per hour can take as much as the length of a football field to come to a full stop, which is why drivers should avoid driving too closely or swerving in front of a large truck.

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Here are some tips the state’s transportation department provided for drivers to safely maneuver around trucks:

  • Pass trucks safely by waiting until you can see both truck headlights in your rearview mirror before moving back into your lane. Pass a truck only when it’s legal and safe.
  • Stay away from a truck’s “No Zones,” blind spot areas in which crashes are more likely to occur. No Zones include the blind spots along each side, the space up to 20 feet in front of the cab, and the area up to 200 feet behind the trailer.
  • Maintain a safe following distance. Be sure you can see the driver in the truck’s side mirror.
  • Never cross behind a truck that is backing up.
  • Don’t squeeze between a truck and the curb. Trucks make wide right turns, and the driver may not see you.

Since Nov. 7, 2000, there has been at least one death on Texas roadways. The advice on driving around large trucks and tractor-trailers is part of the state’s #EndTheStreakTX initiative, which is a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel such as wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving, and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.