Safety Tips for Driving on the Highway alongside Big Rigs

Tips for driving on the highway

Driving next to big rigs can be uncomfortable, you aren’t sure if they see you or if your maneuvers could lead to an accident. It’s important to always use precaution when driving next to semi-trucks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 3,921 people died and 104,000 were injured in big rig crashes in 2012. Further, 73 percent of those deaths were occupants of cars, bicycles, and motorcycles. Basic safety tips for driving on the highway could potentially reduce your risk of being involved in a semi-truck accident.

Safety Tips for Driving on the Highway: Sharing the Road

It is always important to practice safe driving, but when driving alongside semi-trucks special rules apply. These helpful safety tips for driving on the highway from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) are great guidelines for sharing the road with big rigs:

  • Allow plenty of room when changing lanes in front of a semi-truck.
  • Pass trucks quickly and don’t linger beside them.
  • 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 our three lanes.
  • Allow a lot of room around big rigs. 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 semi-truck and you cannot see the drivers’ face in the side mirrors, the driver cannot see you.
  • Allow trucks adequate space to maneuver. Big rigs make wide turns at intersections and require additional lanes to turn.

Tips for Driving on the Highway: Understand Truck Driver Fatigue

During certain times of the day, and depending on various circumstances drivers face an increased risk of being involved in a semi-truck accident. As stated by the NHTSA, 64 percent of big rig accidents occur between the hours of 6am and 6pm. Semi-truck accidents are more likely to occur during weekdays, being that only 22 percent of truck accidents occur on weekends. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), semi-truck drivers are on the road for long periods of time, usually for about an 11 hour stretch. Unfortunately, truck drivers behind the wheel for more than 8 hours are twice as likely to crash.

After a Truck Accident

As you would with any accident, it is important to gather evidence. At the scene make sure you take photos of the accident, gather witness information and call the police to ensure you receive a police report. If you have any injuries, seek medical attention right away. When dealing with insurance companies, follow our helpful guidelines to avoid losing out on benefits.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a semi-truck accident, call 1-800-THE-LAW2 to speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer. You deserve the maximum compensation for your injuries, don’t settle for less. With the help of a 1-800-THE-LAW2 semi-truck accident lawyer you could receive compensation for lost wages, emotional distress, car or property damage, medical bills, and long-term or permanent disability. It is risk free, you get paid or you don’t pay at all! Our 24 hour call center is open 7 days a week, and is available to help you in English and Spanish. Don’t wait to get your life back on track, call 1-800-THE-LAW2.


  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Large Trucks – Overview. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  2. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Large Trucks – Q&A’s. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  3. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts – Large Trucks. Retrieved December 16, 2014.


Last updated September 9, 2015