You may have been warned about following a semi too closely, or what could happen if a trucks brakes fail when it is behind you on the expressway. But what if you’re riding side-by-side with a big rig? This position should be relatively safe; after all, your paths will never cross if you’re in parallel lanes on the highway.

Riding Side-by-Side With a Semi-Truck Can Result in a Sideswipe Crash

While riding next to a semi-truck may seem less dangerous than traveling behind or ahead of it, there are still dangers when driving side-by-side, including:

  • Blind spots. Commercial trucks are notorious for their many blind spots—and the ones that run along the sides of the tractor-trailer are big enough to hide an entire vehicle. The truck’s mirrors may not see you even if you spend several minutes traveling next to the semi, making it more likely that he will swerve into you when attempting to change lanes.
  • High winds. The high walls of a commercial trailer are easily pushed in whatever direction the wind is blowing, and they are even more likely to be blown into neighboring lanes when the trailer is unloaded. A trucker could be at fault for sideswiping a smaller vehicle on a windy day if he is speeding, since high speeds combined with high winds are a dangerous combination.
  • Tire blowouts. It takes a lot of tires to control a big rig, and it is often disastrous when one of them blows. Not only can an exploded tire land in any position on the road, it can also cause the trucker to lose control and sideswipe the cars in the lane next to him.

The best position to be around a big rig is several car lengths away—in every direction. Semi-trucks are hard to handle, hard to stop quickly, and can barrel into a smaller car with incredible force, meaning you should take care to pass them as soon as you can safely do so. If you come upon a commercial truck in the right lane of a highway, go as far to the left in the opposite lane as you can and pass him as quickly as possible. Use your signals when passing and when returning to the right-hand lane, leaving as much space as you can between you and the semi-truck.

If you were sideswiped by a big rig truck, we can investigate the circumstances of the crash on your behalf, preserving the evidence you need to win your case. Click the contact link on this page to tell us your story, or order our free guide, 7 BIGGEST MISTAKES That Can Ruin Your California Injury Case, to find out what to do next.


Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982
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