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If you’ve driven through the state of Florida, chances are you have had to share the road with semi-trailers at some point. If you felt nervous or a little anxious driving near these large trucks, you are not alone, as this is completely normal. Semi-trailers, also known as tractor-trailers, are massive vehicles and weigh thousands of pounds more than your little passenger vehicle. As you can imagine, getting into an accident with one of these behemoths usually does not end well for motorists in passenger vehicles.

This is why you need to be extra cautious and focused if you’re driving near a tractor-trailer. These trucks have limitations, and, due to their size, they can’t maneuver like most other vehicles. Not to mention truck drivers are behind the wheel for many hours at a time, so they are often fatigued and overworked. As a driver, here are a few things you can do to safely share the road with tractor-trailers and avoid becoming a statistic.

Be aware of blind spots

Although your vehicle may have sensors to alert you if someone is in your blind spot, the vast majority of tractor-trailers do not have these. Tractor-trailers have blind spots on all four sides of the truck. Know where these blind spots are and never linger in them. Keep in mind that, if you can’t see the truck driver’s mirrors, he or she can’t see you.

Give them space to turn

Since tractor-trailers are so long, they need extra space to turn. Many times, the truck driver will swing the truck wide and take up two lanes in order to negotiate a turn. If you’re driving near a tractor-trailer and notice an upcoming turn in the road, just back off and give them plenty of space. If you see the truck swing out wide, never shoot the gap and get between the truck and the curb.

Never cut them off

When fully loaded, tractor-trailers can weigh nearly 40 tons. As you can imagine, they need more space in order to safely stop — often the length of two football fields. This is why most truck drivers will leave a lot of distance between their trucks and the vehicle they are following. Never cut them off and merge directly in front of them, or your car could end up getting crushed if traffic suddenly stops.

Be patient and avoid distractions

Just be patient and use common sense when driving near a tractor-trailer. If you drive aggressively or recklessly, you could end up causing a serious accident. Also, never text or use your cell phone when driving. This should go without saying, but it seems distracted driving accidents are increasing with each passing year.

The aftermath of an accident

Truck drivers must undergo hours of training and obtain special licenses. However, they must often drive for long periods of time, so driving exhausted can make it more likely for them to make a mistake and cause an accident. Fortunately, there is help available if you are injured or suffer the loss of a loved one in a truck accident caused by negligence.