The mistakes people make at the wheel can sometimes have very negative consequences. The faster you drive and the bigger the other vehicle involved, the greater the potential damages you can suffer for what seems like a negligible oversight.

Big commercial trucks, in particular, can cause catastrophic levels of damage to smaller personal vehicles if they get into a crash. While there is nothing you can do to prevent a truck driver from making a mistake that injures you, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of causing a crash with a big rig.

Be careful when merging close to commercial trucks

The size and weight of commercial trucks make it a lot harder for them to stop when traffic situations change abruptly. Your personal vehicle will speed up and slow down much more rapidly than a commercial truck will, and you should take that into consideration when maneuvering in close proximity to a bigger vehicle.

Especially when driving on a highway, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to pass a commercial vehicle or merge into traffic in front of the commercial truck. Generally speaking, you want to make sure that you are at least 20 feet in front of the commercial truck when you merge and that you are either going the same speed or faster than the truck.

Give trucks plenty of room to the sides and the back

Those tall trailers on commercial trucks can carry a lot of merchandise, but they are also very hard for truck drivers to see around while in motion, meaning that big trucks have big blind spots. As a general rule, you want to stay in a position where you can clearly see a driver’s mirrors.

However, it is usually best to give a truck even more space than that. Avoiding driving in the lane to the left of a truck or in the two lanes directly to the right of the truck will help you avoid a situation where the truck driver doesn’t see you.

Unfortunately, even the most careful driving practices cannot eliminate the risk caused by other drivers. People who get hurt in a crash caused by a commercial driver may be able to make an insurance claim or possibly bring a personal injury claim against the driver or their employer depending on the circumstances.