As the driver of a passenger vehicle, operating safely around semi trucks requires knowledge of how semi trucks work. For instance, drivers should be aware that the blind spots on semi trucks are much larger than those on regular passenger vehicles.
Being unaware of the differences between a semi truck and a regular passenger vehicle can cause accidents. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, you should never pass a truck when on a downgrade.
What is a downgrade?
A downgrade is a section of road where you are going down a hill. Given that trucks are much heavier than regular passenger vehicles, they tend to pick up speed when on these downgrades. Passing a semi truck on a downgrade can be extremely dangerous since the speed of the truck becomes unpredictable.
Additionally, the large blind spots on a semi truck mean that you should never pass the truck when you are in the right lane.
Why is the right lane more dangerous?
Like regular passenger vehicles, semi trucks have blind spots on either side. However, these blind spots are much larger. The blind spot on the right side of a semi truck can extend over two full lanes. Meanwhile, the blind spot on the left side of a semi truck only extends for one lane. Trying to pass on the right side may mean that the driver does not see you.
With this being the case, it is important to always pass a semi truck on the left hand side. Remember that if you cannot see the semi truck’s mirrors, it is likely that the driver of the truck cannot see you.