When following behind a truck leave yourself 20 to 25 car lengths behind it. This may seem like a long distance but because large trucks obscure visibility far more than smaller vehicles that much room is needed so that you have enough time to react if road conditions suddenly change. A good rule of thumb to ensure that you’ve left yourself enough room is to look for the truck’s side mirrors. If you can see them then you are in a good place
Some of the things that can happen that require that much space behind a
truck are this:
When passing a truck and moving back into its lane make sure you can see the truck’s headlights in your rear view mirror before you cut back in. That allows the truck enough space to slow down or stop if something happens up ahead.
A fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and take the length of a football field to stop. Most passenger cars weigh around 3,000 pounds and have a much shorter stopping distance. Just because you can stop in time doesn’t mean that the truck behind you can if you’ve cut too close in front of it. Even if the driver makes a monumental effort they may not be able to stop if you haven’t left them enough room.
You may wonder why trucks leave space in front of
them in heavy traffic. It’s so they have enough stopping distance. Don’t
fill in that space and take up that safety buffer that the driver is
trying to maintain.
Many large trucks are now equipped with very
sophisticated communications equipment that allows for the driver to
receive instructions and for the truck to report back to the terminal on
an array of technical aspects of the truck and its driver. This
equipment makes driving safer and delivering goods more efficient.