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How to ease your teen’s concerns about driving near trucks

Whether you are driving through town or cruising on the interstate, you share the road with other motorists. When you travel I-75 you certainly see plenty of semi-trucks hauling along. When you got your license, you learned the basics of being a safe driver. Today, you continue to use these skills and other tips you’ve picked up along the way.

Now that your teen is eager to get behind the wheel, you want to make sure that you pass on the best knowledge you can. Driving alongside tractor-trailers can be intimidating for both new and seasoned drivers. A crash with a truck may result in serious injuries. Help eliminate some of your child’s fear by talking to them about sharing the road with trucks.

How to play cool will driving near trucks

Every driver must do their part to keep roadways safe. Semis are large, heavy vehicles, and understanding how to navigate alongside them is important.

  • Know when you’re in a blind spot. Truck drivers may have a great vantage point since they sit up so high, but the size and shape of their trucks causes impediments. There are several areas around a truck that are difficult for drivers to see. In some places, it’s impossible to see at all: right in front of the truck, directly behind the truck and along the middle of each side. Remind your kid that if they can’t see the truck driver, then the trucker can’t see them.
  • Understand stopping distance. Trucks are large and heavy. The immense size and shape of these vehicles makes it more difficult for them to stop. Tell your child to imagine a football field—and then double it. This amount of space is the stopping distance a truck requires. Remind them to never, ever cut off a truck when merging because it won’t be able to stop.
  • Keep a safe buffer. Semis require skill to maneuver. Remind your teen to keep a safe distance when driving behind a truck. Next time you two are in the car together, point out a blown out semi-tire if you see one and use that as a reminder of one of the many reasons why a safe distance is important.
  • Pass with care. Your teen will undoubtedly need to pass a truck at some point. Tell them not to linger in the driver’s blind spot and to drive closer to the shoulder than the truck. If you want to reiterate why this is important, you can use the way wind can impact the trailer as an example.
  • Allow them space. Now that you’ve gotten to this point, your child certainly understands how big and powerful semi-trucks are. Now, just remind them that these vehicles sometimes require more space to make turns and navigate.

Equipping your teenager with these tips can help lessen their stress and give them the information they need to navigate safely with other vehicles. As always, don’t forget to chat with them about keeping themselves distraction-free.

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