When most Manassas residents think of commercial vehicles, they probably think of professional drivers behind the wheels of big rigs and 18-wheelers. However, commercial vehicles can take many different forms, from large semis to box trucks. In addition, sometimes, non-commercial drivers will find themselves behind the wheel of a larger truck to which they are unaccustomed, especially if they are renting a box truck for the first time.

Many drivers are understandably a bit nervous behind the wheel of an unfamiliar vehicle, especially a large truck. In order to avoid negligence on the roads and resulting accidents, drivers can follow safety tips for novice truck drivers. Likewise, those sharing the roads with commercial vehicles can also benefit from these safety precautions in order to avoid an accident with a truck.

One of the biggest safety issues for truck drivers is visibility. Truck drivers will generally want to take the time to properly adjust all mirrors so that they can see as much as possible at all times. Unlike smaller cars, trucks feature much larger “blind spots” so extreme caution when changing lanes is also a necessity. Those driving a truck for the first time may find it more comfortable to stay in the right lane as much as is reasonable, especially since it can take a while to get heavily-loaded trucks up to speed on a highway.

Excessive speed, though, can be highly dangerous. Heavy trucks require much more stopping distance than a passenger car, so driving at a prudent speed and taking enough time to stop are critical. Tailgating in a truck can be a recipe for a commercial vehicle accident; it is usually best to leave more than a car length between a truck and the vehicle in front of it.

In order to help steer clear of accidents and injuries, it is also important to pass properly. Generally, passing a car going more than 40 miles per hour can be risky, as is utilizing the passing lanes on an interstate or freeway when smaller cars are zipping by at high speeds. As with all vehicles, passing on hills or curves can pose a hazard to everyone on the road at that time. Drivers who prioritize their own safety, as well as that of those around them, can help ensure a safe and incident-free truck driving experience.

Source: PenskeTruckRental.com, “Driving a truck,” accessed on March 13, 2015