Nobody in a traditional passenger vehicle wants to get into an accident with a truck. The sheer size and balance between commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles can cause incredible amounts of damage and death.
This is why understanding how to share the roadways with these behemoths is necessary for your safety. You should always pass a commercial vehicle on the left hand side and make sure to give plenty of space, says the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
What difference does passing on the left make?
It is best practice to pass all vehicles on the left, including other passenger vehicles. However, there is a specific reason why you should definitely pass larger commercial vehicles on the left. The reason is the difference in the size of the blind spot on the right hand side of a truck versus the left hand side.
On the right side of the truck, the blind spot takes up 2 entire lanes of traffic. This means that if you are trying to pass a commercial vehicle on the right hand side, the driver will not be able to see you very well. Passing on the left is much better since the blind spot is only one lane of traffic.
How much space should I give?
Since commercial vehicles are so much larger than passenger vehicles, they require more space to stop. It is best to give a truck at least 30 feet of space when you start to execute the merge, and then give 20 feet of space in front of the truck once you are in position to merge back into the original lane. Giving less space than this risks an accident if the truck needs to maneuver or stop quickly.