It’s the holiday season. Give trucks some space!

The holidays are about sharing. Don’t be a grinch—share the road! Be aware of how much space trucks need to operate safely.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most people didn’t think much about how the goods we need reach us. The pandemic has shown us how much respect we owe professional drivers; they have played a crucial role in keeping our lives going.

As restrictions on our movement have lifted, roads are becoming as busy as ever. And as we approach the holiday season, with online shopping more prevalent, deliveries are way up. That’s a good thing if you drive a truck. With so many trucks on the road, other drivers need to be patient and share the road.

Professional drivers practise space management to get through traffic; it can be tough at the best of times. When other road users are in a hurry and the weather turns ugly, it is tougher and dangerous. Take these considerations into account.

• See and be seen. Transport trucks have large blind spots directly in front of the truck, on both sides of the cab and trailer (particularly on the passenger side) and directly behind the trailer. As drivers of smaller vehicles, we need to make sure we can be seen; if you can’t see the driver side mirror, the driver cannot see you. Stay back so you can see the side mirror.

o Staying directly beside the truck or trailer may mean your vehicle is hidden in the driver’s blind spot.

• Think ahead. Change lanes early to avoid cutting off a truck, especially at an intersection.

o Remember that the truck driver can’t see your brake lights if you’re too close and by the time they realize you’re braking, it could be too late to stop safely behind you. A fully loaded semi travelling at 100 kph (60 mph) needs 112 m (370 ft) or more to stop. That’s more than the length of a football field.

• If you decide to pass a truck, be sure you can see well ahead of the truck and are sure there is no oncoming traffic. Then get on with it—check your mirrors, signal your intention, and then pass. Hanging around beside the truck in its blind spot is unsafe for both of you.
• Be aware of the space trucks need to make turns, especially right turns. When you see a truck’s right turning indicator, don’t try to sneak past. You’ll be in the truck’s blind spot and likely to be hit by the trailer.

Respect the size of the truck and the skill of the driver and do your part to keep the space around them safe. We’ll all get to our destinations safely and so will the goods we need and want.

Happy holidays!

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