How to safely share the road with big rigs

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by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on February 19, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 19 at 8:13 PM

AUSTIN -- If you drive, you encounter 18-wheelers all the time. It can be frightening in certain situations.

Tuesday KVUE's Heather Kovar got some advice from a truck driver on what you can do to avoid collisions.

"We just want to do our job and do it safely and get back home safely to our family," professional driver Loren Hatfield said.

Truckers want the same for other drivers. In a partnership for highway safety, sponsors American Trucking Associations, Mack and Michelin come together to help drivers understand what it's like behind the wheel of a big rig.

According to Hatfield, the most dangerous thing another driver can do is come over too quickly after passing a truck.

"Don't come back over immediately because a fully loaded tractor trailer can take up to two football fields to come to a complete stop," Hatfield said.

Hatfield says to pass in the left lane, not the right, and wait until you can see both headlights of the truck in the mirror. "And that's generally about six to eight car lengths," Hatfield added.

It's their stopping distance and room they need to avoid crashes in an emergency.

"A lot of the accidents with 18-wheelers occur in the blind spots," Hatfield said.

Here says there are four blind spots. "You have one to the right, which is the largest blind spot. It can be the full length of the trailer starting at the front and extend three lanes out," he said.

You also have the left and the rear. The fourth blind spot is the front. A pedestrian or a car could disappear from the driver's view if you get too close.

In rain or other severe weather, it's recommended to give 18-wheelers even more space.

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