How To Pass Trucks Safely – Your 5-Step Guide To Success
Safe driving means being able to share the road with trucks and cars. So how do you know when you can pass a truck? How can you stay safe and make sure you’re sharing the road while overtaking? In this guide, LTrent Driving School will provide you with a few quick tips to use when you’re driving on the road and need to pass a truck.
1. Check Your Surroundings & Make Sure It’s Safe To Pass
First of all, make sure you take in your surroundings. Look in your mirrors for other cars. Is the road crowded? Are there a lot of vehicles entering and exiting? Will you be able to judge the situation properly and make a safe manoeuvre?
For example, if a truck has a “DO NOT OVERTAKE TURNING VEHICLE” sign, this means that they are allowed to use one or both lanes to turn safely. A car driver is not allowed to try to overtake a truck driver during a turn, as this could result in a crash.
2. Remember That Objects In Your Mirrors Are Closer Than They Appear
It’s important to remember that, when looking at a truck in your rear view mirror and passing, objects in your mirror are closer than they appear. Note also that your side view and rear view mirrors do have blind spots.
Use your mirrors and turn your head to check your blind spots before engaging in any kind of passing manoeuvre around a truck – this ensures that the area is clear of other vehicles, and that it’s safe to proceed.
3. Understand Truck Blind Spots & Stay Out Of Them
Since trucks are so large, they have big blind spots to their rear, their front, and their sides. You want to stay out of these at all costs. You can see a diagram and some basic tips for avoiding blind spots here.
The easiest way to remember truck blind spots is this – if you can’t see the driver through their window or their side mirrors, they can’t see you. Keep this in mind, and minimise the time you spend in their blind spot while passing.
4. Use Your Turn Signal And Accelerate Past The Truck Quickly
When you can see the driver of the truck in their side view mirror, you’ll know that you are out of their blind spot. Make sure to use your turn indicator to indicate that you are changing lanes. Indicate at least 2-3 seconds before making your manoeuvre.
Then, once you’ve pulled into the adjacent lane, accelerate smoothly. Be aware of speed limiting on the road, but minimise the potential time that you may spend in the trucks’ blind spot.
5. Pull In Front Of The Truck, But Provide Plenty Of Extra Space
When you can see the truck in your rear view mirror and see both of its headlights clearly, you can pull in front of the truck into the left lane, and resume normal driving.
Make sure that, when you pull in front of a truck, you give them plenty of extra room and you indicate your turn clearly, to ensure that they understand that you are passing them. Remember that, compared to cars, trucks have a much longer distance to stop – so they need more space for emergency manoeuvres.
Follow These Tips To Pass Trucks Successfully & Stay Safe
Initially, passing a truck may seem intimidating. But as you continue to learn and improve as a driver, it will become second nature. Need some help? At LTrent Driving School, we offer professional driving instruction, and can help learner drivers become more familiar with common road rules and manoeuvres. If you are NSW, we offer the Safer Drivers Course which helps learners reduce risks and anticipate hazard situations by making well-informed decisions on the road. To get started call LTrent on 02 8748 4500 for NSW or 1300 717 115 for VIC, or book online today.