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How can I pass commercial vehicles safely?

An accident with any variety of vehicle has the potential to be deadly, but the danger is definitely higher when one vehicle is a commercial vehicle. Commercial vehicles like buses and semi trucks handle very differently from traditional passenger vehicles.

Understanding these differences as the driver of a regular passenger vehicle can help keep you safe on the road. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, you should always pass a commercial vehicle on the left due to how big is the blind spots are on these vehicles and their increased mass.

What should I know about a commercial vehicle’s blind spots?

The biggest takeaway is that the blind spots on a commercial vehicle are much larger than those on a traditional passenger vehicle. This is particularly important when trying to pass a commercial vehicle.

It is always best practice to pass a car on the left no matter how large the other car is, but it is especially important with commercial vehicles. This is because the blind spot on the right side of a commercial vehicle takes up two lanes of traffic. Meanwhile, the blind spot on the left side of a commercial vehicle is only one lane wide.

Why does mass matter?

The more mass a vehicle has, the more space it will need to stop. When you are passing commercial vehicles, you will want to start your merge earlier and end it later than with smaller Vehicles. It is a good idea to give the commercial vehicle at least 30 feet of space behind and 20 feet of space in front when you are merging.