The front no-zone is in front of the truck and should be avoided for two reasons:
Unpredictable and unexpected things happen all the time when you're driving. Animals can run out on the road; there may be debris or other objects on the road that need to be avoided; another driver may cut you off, causing you to slam on your brakes…. If any of these things were to happen while you were in a truck's front no-zone, chances are it would end in tragedy for you and your passengers.
Rule of thumb: Make sure you can see the entire front of the truck cab—from the bumper to the top of the cab—in your rearview mirror before changing lanes in front of a truck. Don't put yourself and others in harm's way. Stay out of the front no-zone!
Under no circumstances should you ever cut in front of a truck, especially if the traffic is slowing or stopped ahead! Large trucks need much longer stopping distances than passenger vehicles. At 55 mph, it can take a large truck more than the length of a football field to stop. In 2013, four out of every five people killed in a crash involving a large truck were occupants of other vehicles. In other words, you're risking your life and the lives of your passengers by being impatient and not giving trucks enough room. Please be patient and wait for a more suitable gap in traffic before you change lanes in front of a truck.
This clip shows the dangers of abruptly cutting in front of a truck. In the forward roadway view, you'll see a car in the left lane next to the truck with its right turn signal on. The driver sees a small opening in traffic and changes lanes directly in front of the truck, causing the truck driver to slam on his brakes to avoid a collision. Note how quickly the truck driver must react to avoid smashing into the rear of the car. This situation could have been easily avoided if the car driver had been patient enough to wait for the truck to pass and found a more appropriately sized gap in the traffic to change lanes.
This second clip provides an example of correct road-sharing behavior. Notice the car approaching the driver's side blind spot view with the intention of passing on the driver's side of the truck. They pass the truck at a nice, steady speed and leave plenty of space before signaling and changing lanes in front of the truck. In this case, even if something happened to cause the car driver to stop suddenly, the truck driver would have enough time to respond and slow down.
Merging is another situation that causes potential conflict between cars and trucks. Improper merging is dangerous because of the much longer stopping distances required for trucks compared to passenger cars.
Due to their sheer size and weight, trucks need much more space and time than cars to carry out maneuvers such as braking/stopping, turning, or speeding up. If you avoid driving erratically around trucks and give them plenty of time and space to maneuver safely, you'll keep yourself and your passengers safe.
The following clip shows the dangers of improper merging in front of a truck. In the forward roadway view, you'll notice a car in the far-right lane signaling to merge onto the interstate. Rather than waiting for the truck to pass, the driver recklessly cuts across the path of the truck to the far-left lane. The truck driver must slam on his brakes to avoid colliding with the car.
The truck driver's reaction is the perfect illustration of how stressful and dangerous this maneuver is. Please be patient and wait for trucks to pass before changing lanes. A fully loaded truck weighs up to twenty times more than a car. Who do you think will come off worse in the event of a collision? Ask yourself, is it worth the risk?
This clip provides an example of proper merging behavior. Notice the white pickup in the right lane of the forward roadway view. The driver is moving at a nice, steady pace and is clearly visible to the truck driver. They signal well in advance of their lane change and merge safely in front of the truck before changing lanes a second time.