It can be frightening to drive next to big rigs, as many motorists have difficulties maneuvering around them. Unfortunately, it may only get worse as the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a trucking industry bid that could allow longer trucks on our nation’s highways. If this measure passes, it would permit longer tandem trucks by increasing the length of tandem trailers from 28 feet to 33 feet.

So What Do Longer Loads Mean to Maryland Motorists?

Those who drive double tractor-trailers know that there is a greater chance for skidding and losing traction with the longer load which can result in crashes. Those who oppose this measure know that larger trucks mean heavier loads and an increase in fatal crashes, as well as an increase in damage to roads and bridges. The current weight limit for single trailers is 80,000 pounds. If this measure is passed, the limit would be raised to 97,000 pounds.

However, those in the trucking industry believe that hauling bigger loads would reduce the number of trucks on the road, which could reduce truck traffic and crashes.

Longer Loads Would Negatively Affect the Motoring Public

The truth of the matter is that if bigger, heavier trucks are allowed on Federal highways, it could greatly affect motorists’ safety. For this reason, it is important that all drivers are reminded of how to drive around big rigs. Here are five tips for sharing the road with large trucks:

  1. Give the truck plenty of room. This means don’t cut right in front of a truck and don’t tailgate. Trucks need more time to stop and there could be other situations such as a tire blow out hazard that could put you in danger if you are lingering near the truck.
  2. Be patient. Don’t take any chances. It’s always better to allow a truck to move over in front of you than attempting to speed up and block a truck from moving into your lane.
  3. Stay alert. This means no texting and driving or engaging in any type of distracted driving activity that could put you in danger.
  4. Avoid driving in blind spots. Large trucks have “no zones,” and these blind spots can get worse with double tractor-trailers. If you can’t see a truck driver in his mirror, he can’t see you.
  5. Pass with caution. Use extra care when passing a large truck and only pass on the left side. Never try to pass a truck on the right side, as the trucker might be swinging wide to make a right turn.

Because bigger trucks can present an even bigger driving challenge, it is important to follow these tips to help reduce your chances of being in a truck accident. Please share this information with your friends and family via Facebook  so that your loved ones are also reminded how to drive safely around semi-trucks.