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Commercial trucks: give these highway behemoths ample room

Caution is the byword.

That is certainly the fundamental takeaway conveyed on a relevant page of our website at the Ventura County-based Vititoe Law Group regarding passenger vehicle drivers' movements around commercial trucks on state roads and freeways.

Put another way: It is emphatically implied on the "do's and don'ts of sharing the road with trucks in California" page of our site that motorists in passenger cars and trucks should be especially -- and unwaveringly -- cognizant of "don't" behaviors that can place them in immediate peril when trucks are nearby.

Don't tailgate, for instance. That is bad enough when the leading car is a small vehicle, but when it is an 18-wheel rig ….

The problem in the latter case is that a truck driver can't even see a car that is immediately behind it. Nor can the driver see a vehicle in so-called "blind spots" adjacent to it on either side and immediately in front of it. According to the automotive group AAA, such lack of visibility can extend up to 200 feet.

Nor do large trucks stop easily or quickly, for obvious reasons. A motorist who doesn't readily appreciate that fact is gambling with his or her life and the lives of all accompanying vehicle passengers.

And here's an interesting -- perhaps to some readers, compelling -- statistic. Reportedly, a semitrailer traveling at 55 miles per hour takes about 800 feet to completely stop.

Translation: That verges on the length of two football fields. If you're a motorist darting about in the proximity of a truck and forcing its driver to brake sharply, you almost certainly aren't close to that safety marker.

California drivers in passenger vehicles simply must act with heightened awareness around commercial trucks, given that the failure to do so can easily yield catastrophic and even fatal consequences.

Again, and to restate the above mantra that opens this post, caution is the byword.

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