The Insurance Information Network of California, the California Highway Patrol and the California Trucking Assn. have joined forces to focus attention on truck and car driver safety for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

In a live demonstration held at the Alameda Naval Air Station last week, truck drivers highlighted the dangers of big rig blind spots and physical stopping distance, which is significantly greater than that of four-wheelers, according to a Fort Mill Times report. CHP officers stressed the need for motorists to understand how to safely share the road with big trucks.

“Motorists need to know that sharing the road with big rigs requires patience, and they need to understand how to recognize and avoid a truck’s blind spots,” said Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California.

“For trucking companies and our drivers, safety has to be the top priority,” added Alicia Yandell Hamilton, vice president of Yandell Truckaway, a third-generation family trucking company. “Besides being the right thing to do, it’s good business. California truck drivers have to maintain high safety standards in order to stay on the road. We need to do all we can to help make sure all of us, whether we drive 18-wheelers or 4-wheelers, are sharing the roads safely.”

“The number of trucks using the California highway system will inevitably increase over the coming years,” said CHP Assistant Chief Sherrell Sutherland. “For that reason, the CHP is working to create public awareness about driving around commercial trucks; and thus, minimizing truck-involved collisions and fatalities.”

The CHP urged motorists to understand the following basics of sharing the road with big rigs:

  • Allow plenty of room when changing lanes in front of a truck.
  • Pass trucks quickly and don’t linger beside a truck.
  • Pass a truck on the left, not on the right, because the truck’s blind spot on the right runs the length of the trailer and extends out three lanes.
  • Allow a lot of room around trucks. Try to leave a 10-car length gap when in front of a truck and 20-25 car lengths when behind a truck.
  • Check a truck’s mirrors. If you are following a truck and you cannot see the driver’s face in the truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver cannot see you.
  • Allow trucks adequate space to maneuver. Trucks make wide turns at intersections and require additional lanes to turn.