September 2006 Safety Thoughts

Dealing With Trucks

By Dave Hansen

Truck drivers are generally very courteous to and respectful of motorcyclists when we treat them in a courteous & respectful manner.  Provided they see us.

The Trucks Themselves are Hazards to Motorcyclists-

Trucks have huge blind spots.  You can't be seen by the truck driver if you're behind, beside or sometimes even in front of a truck.  Stay away from trucks!  

Trucks make wide turns and can encroach on your lane if you are beside them when they turn.  Stay away from trucks!

Trucks at highway speeds create wind blast that can move your bike across a full lane of traffic.  When passing a truck on the highway, move to the far side of the lane to minimize wind blast and maximize separation distance.  

Truck tires are generally recycled by having new tread applied to the tire carcass.  This technique creates a tire that can experience a tread separation that can occur suddenly, sometimes without warning.  These tread separations throw big chunks of rubber in an unpredictable fashion at the traffic behind, beside, or even in front of the exploding tire.  Stay away from trucks!

Trucks take up very large amounts of real estate compared to motorcycles, making it easy for the motorcycle to be hidden from other traffic.  This can lead to vehicles veering or turning into your intended path of travel because they simply can't see you because of the truck.  Stay away from trucks!

Trucks generally can't stop as fast a normal traffic.  If you're in traffic, in front of a truck and the traffic stops quickly & unexpectedly, it just won't matter whether you can get stopped or not because the truck behind you can't.  Stay away from trucks!

I generally avoid anecdotes in my safety thoughts, but there are plenty of lessons to be learned from the experiences of other riders regarding how dangerous trucks are for motorcycles.  Pay heed to these stories from both buddy & new acquaintances.  And remember, Stay away from trucks!



Ride Safe!