The average 18-wheeler weighs a solid 80,000 lbs. (36,287 kg). This is just one of the reasons that truck drivers undergo intense training and have to stay current with regulations. Driving in a straight line down the interstate is difficult enough. How about turning an 18-wheeler in traffic?
Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind the next time you hit the road to ensure you’re driving safe and drivers around you aren’t in harm’s way.
Making Safe Turns in a Big Rig
The most frequent accident involving 18-wheelers is the result of wide right-hand turns. Going too far out or not far enough can land you in an unpleasant situation. Make sure you hit the sweet spot every time with these tips:
- Patience is Key: Taking risks and acting out of anticipation won’t do you any favors. Take your time until you’re 100 percent certain that you have the space to make your turn. Wait for traffic to clear and don’t take any chances. A few extra minutes of patience is well worth avoiding a serious accident.
- Always Signal: Your turning signal should go on at least 200 feet before you plan to make the turn and don’t forget to check your mirrors. Always look for traffic coming up behind you and in the opposite lane, just as if you were driving a car.
- Focus on Aim: Once you are sure the coast is clear start aiming the front of your truck for the oncoming lane (for 2 -lane roads) and the middle lane (for 3 lanes). Focus on directing the trailer tires to avoid hopping the curb.
- Remove Distractions: If you have to take a crazy route, especially during rush hour, be sure that you remove as many distractions as possible. Turn off the radio, keep your phone out of sight, and make sure you aren’t sleepy. When you aren’t in the proper conditions, you may feel anxious or stressed, leading you to make an irreversible mistake.
- Straighten Out: Once you get the hard part over with, you can focus on straightening your trailer out and getting on your way. You want to be mindful of drivers around you and get your trailer back in your lane as safely and as quickly as possible.
Apart from the possibility of a serious accident that could damage property — or worse, harming somebody — failing to follow these tips can lead to some serious issues and could lead to expensive repairs and time off the road.
We hope this information was a helpful reminder to be patient, to be aware of your surroundings and keep in mind just how big your job as a truck driver can be.
If you want more tips and resources exclusively for truckers, check out our blog!