Driving around large vehicles like semi trucks can be intimidating. However, since semi trucks are a very common feature of American roadways, learning how to share the road with them is a must.
It is highly likely that you will wish to pass a semi truck at some point. However, there are some safe ways to do so and some that are not as safe. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, when you try to pass a semi truck you should always do so on the left and make sure you are giving enough space to the truck.
Why does passing on the left matter?
It is generally a good idea to pass all vehicles on the left rather than the right. However, when passing large commercial vehicles like a semi truck or bus, being on the left is even more important. This is because the blind spot on the left side of a truck or bus is much smaller than the blind spot on the right side.
Essentially, the driver of a semi truck is more likely to see you if you are on his left side then on his right. Thus, you should always pass on the left side.
How much space does a semi truck need?
When you are passing a semi truck, you want to give it at least 30 feet of space behind the truck when you start the merge and 20 feet of space in front when you finish. This is in case the driver of the semi truck needs to stop or maneuver. Since the semi truck has so much more mass than a regular passenger vehicle, it needs this amount of space.