When you are driving around larger commercial vehicles, you probably already have safety at the forefront of your mind. These are incredibly large vehicles, and any collision with a commercial truck can lead to significant injuries and property damage. If you need to safely pass and overtake a commercial vehicle in Texas, you should do so as safely as possible. But what does “safely” mean in this context?
When you are traveling on a roadway and there are larger commercial trucks around, make sure that you remain far enough back from the truck during the times when you are not attempting to pass the vehicle. Keep at least two seconds of time between your vehicle and the larger truck, and even more distance if it is nighttime or if there is bad weather. Staying a good distance back gives you a better chance to observe oncoming traffic and to look at possible overtaking opportunities.
Larger commercial trucks are much longer than traditional passenger vehicles, and this additional distance means that you need to plan to have more time to overtake the truck than you would for another vehicle. This means closely observing oncoming traffic.
Do Not Stay Near a Truck
If, based on examining oncoming traffic and current roadway conditions, you will have a chance to overtake the truck, begin to close the gap between your vehicle and the larger commercial truck. Use your turn signal to indicate that you are going to pass, and do so as quickly as possible while staying within the speed limit. Do not linger along the side of the larger truck. The sides of a truck are where the truck driver has the largest blind spots, so if you stay on either side of the truck for any length of time, this increases the chance that a collision will occur.
Do Not Cut a Truck Off
After you overtake the truck, you should use your turn signal and move back into the correct lane, but only when you can see both truck’s headlights in your rearview mirror. You do not want to cut back in front of the truck driver suddenly, as this could force the truck to slam on its brakes or swerve into another lane. After you use your turn signal and get back into the correct lane, continue on your way well following the speed limit.
Passing a larger truck on a major highway or any roadway can be nerve-wracking for drivers in Texas. If you feel unsafe or notice possible hindrances towards passing the vehicle at any point when you are about to pass a larger truck, stay put in your lane. There is no need to risk a major accident occurring just to cut down on some driving time. Only pass a larger commercial truck on Texas roadways if you have plenty of highway space to do so.