Particularly for newer drivers, sharing the road with commercial vehicles is intimidating. Commercial vehicles handle differently and have more mass than traditional passenger vehicles.
While the operators of commercial vehicles have a large amount of responsibility for keeping other drivers on the road safe, it is also vital for passenger vehicle operators to understand their role here too. As the driver of a smaller passenger vehicle, you can stay safe around commercial vehicles by understanding how large their blind spots are and giving plenty of space when passing.
How large are a commercial vehicle’s blind spots?
Just like with any vehicle, there are blind spots on all four sides of a commercial vehicle. The main difference between the blind spots on a commercial vehicle and those on a smaller passenger vehicle is that the ones on the commercial vehicle are much larger. The key takeaway is understanding that the blind spot on the right side of a passenger vehicle takes up two entire lanes of traffic.
This is why you should always pass a commercial vehicle on the left. It is never a good idea to pass any vehicle on the right, but it is an especially bad idea with commercial vehicles.
How much space should I give?
You will want to start your emerge from behind a commercial vehicle at least 30 feet before its rear bumper. You should also give at least 20 feet in front of a commercial vehicle when merging back in front of it. Failure to do so can result in a catastrophic accident as commercial vehicles require much more space to stop as compared to smaller passenger vehicles.