New Jersey drivers share the road with many large trucks and commercial motor vehicles that must operate almost by their own set of rules. They have limited maneuverability, long stopping distances and larger blind spots than smaller vehicles. While they have strict rules to follow, passenger vehicles and motorcycles can help avoid accidents by following a few simple rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Drivers should stay out of the blind spots. If a truck driver cannot be spotted in a vehicle side mirror, it is likely that the driver cannot see the smaller vehicle. Drivers should move ahead or slow down to avoid blind spots and be extra careful when merging with a commercial vehicle.

Drivers should never cut in front of trucks, busses or other commercial vehicles when merging lanes. Sometimes drivers can get away with it in a smaller car, but it takes larger vehicles up to 40% longer to stop. The closer the car cuts to the truck, the more likely an accident is to occur.

Safer-America also suggests that drivers never assume that a truck can see them. It is always a good idea to drive defensively and be aware of where other vehicles are, and this is particularly true with trucks. Because there are such large spots where they cannot see vehicles next to them, it is vital to the safety of all that drivers of smaller vehicles are always aware of the truck.

Finally, drivers should anticipate that a truck will need a wider turn space. They may need to start from a middle lane or swing wider than a smaller passenger vehicle. Drivers should never try to turn between the curb and a vehicle and remember that a truck’s turning radius is close to 55 feet.