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Big rigs, training, speed and the space cushion

If you are operating a passenger vehicle on a crowded highway and the grill of the big rig behind you is all you see in your rearview mirror, your anxiety level may rise a bit.

Commercial truck drivers must be well-trained. They must practice safe driving behavior, which means no speeding or tailgating. If you should have to stop suddenly, will that big rig end up in your trunk?

Texas trucking issues

According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are more truck-related fatalities on Texas highways than on any other roads in the country. A driver who operates a truck with a certain Gross Vehicle Weight must have a commercial driver's license. To obtain a CDL, the applicant must earn an acceptable grade on a general knowledge test and pass a skills test, which includes stopping, backing up, turning and driving on both city streets and highways.

Employing the space cushion

Professional drivers constantly monitor the area around all sides of their trucks, including the height above and the area beneath. This is known as the "space cushion." Big rig drivers do not want to be too close to other vehicles or objects, whether they are moving or stationary.

Speeding and tailgating

The space cushion includes the space in front of the truck. The driver must allow for an acceptable stopping distance, especially after dark, during inclement weather or along hilly or curvy roads. As for speed, drivers know that it takes longer to brake a large truck than to stop a car, and most will not speed, knowing that they might not be able to stop in time to prevent a crash.

Avoiding collisions

Truck drivers are aware that one wrong move could cause a crash, including a disastrous rollover that might impact several vehicles, or a rear-ender as the result of tailgating. Fatalities frequently result from a truck-car collision and injuries suffered by victims can be extremely serious. The good news is that most professional truckers have had good training. They are responsible drivers who pay close attention to their personal space cushions.

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