By Jena Williams

Do you sometimes jump into the extra space in front of a truck when traffic starts to slow down? Or do you drive in a truck’s blind spot? Often motorists are unaware that these and other unsafe driving habits put them in extreme danger around semi-trucks.

I know I used to do some of these risky behaviors. My favorite – getting around traffic at an off ramp by jumping in the space that is always there in front of a truck. Dumb, dumb girl! Now that I know better, I’m amazed at the way I risked my own life and regret the stress I put on the drivers of the trucks.  Looking back, I realize that mostly I was naively unaware of the risk I was in.

If you are one of the motorists that choose to go one-to-one with a semi, please understand that you are bound to lose eventually…your life, your mobility, the friend or family member that is riding with you…any number of physical and emotional issues may plague you the rest of your life from this decision. Are you the only one who loses? No.

Consider this scenario: A truck driver goes to work and through no fault of his own is involved in a collision that takes the life of another motorist. The emotional and mental anguish from this type of event can leave the professional truck driver unable to drive a truck any longer. You may choose to risk and lose your life. The dedicated driver loses his career.

Please drive carefully around trucks. Give them plenty of room. When passing, safely but quickly get out of the blind spot. Remember that if you cannot see the driver in the mirrors, the driver  cannot see you.

When the freeway slows down, don’t jump into that big space in front of the semi-truck. The driver intentionally left it so that he or she can have room to stop the heavy load they are carrying.

When merging on the freeway, check YOUR blind spot to make sure a truck isn’t there. Don’t make them have to adjust their speed for your entrance because their load may prevent them from slowing or speeding up for you. Additionally, they cannot move over as quickly as a passenger vehicle. Be considerate and remember that trucks are bringing the goods you need each day.

As part of the motoring and consumer public, I really appreciate truck drivers.

Drivers, are there other tips or topics you’d like the rest of us to be aware of to make your job just a little safer and easier?

Wondering where a truck’s blind spots are located? Check the No-Zone Diagram: http://www.sharetheroadsafely.org/noZone/noZone.asp