Properly Passing a Truck

When sharing the road with trucks it is EXTREMELY important to practice proper passing behavior. We’ve already covered most things to remember for proper passing. To recap:

  • NEVER pass a truck on the right. Pass a truck in the left lane as that’s the side where the truck driver can see your vehicle for the longest period of time as you’re passing.
  • DO NOT linger next to the truck, ESPECIALLY in the truck driver’s blind spot. Remember, if you can’t see the truck driver in his mirror then he can’t see you. Lingering next to a truck creates a dangerous situation where you may be sideswiped by the truck if it swerves or attempts to change lanes. Move at a safe and steady speed until you are far enough past the truck to change lanes.
  • Most importantly, DO NOT change lanes in front of a truck until you can see the entire front of the truck in your rearview mirror. NEVER change lanes in front of a truck then brake or slow down suddenly.

The following clip shows an extremely dangerous improper passing scenario. Notice the black pickup truck speeding up from behind and passing the truck in the passenger’s side right no-zone blind spot. In the forward roadway view, you can see that the traffic ahead is stopped so when the pickup changes lanes in front of the truck, directly into the front no-zone, then stops quickly, the truck driver has to slam on his brakes, only narrowly avoiding smashing into the back of the pickup.

This clip illustrates pretty much everything you should NEVER do when passing a truck. The pickup recklessly speeds up behind the truck and passes on the passenger’s side of the truck, then cuts dangerously close in front of the truck and stops suddenly. All of these elements combined create an incredibly dangerous situation that could easily have ended in tragedy if not for the truck driver’s quick reaction. PLEASE DO NOT drive recklessly when sharing the road with trucks. Remember to exercise caution when passing trucks on the road. It could save your life and the lives of your passengers!

This second clip provides an example of proper passing behavior when sharing the road with trucks. Notice the red pickup approaching from behind in the driver’s side blind spot. This vehicle is not lingering, but moving at a nice, steady pace. He passes safely on the left driver’s side of the truck. He also waits until he is far enough ahead of the truck to safely change lanes. This is precisely the sort of driving behavior you should aim for every time you approach a truck on the road.