Can You Legally Pass a Truck on the Right?

Can You Legally Pass a Truck on the Right? It’s good to be cautious about how to drive around a tractor-trailer. They’re far larger than any other vehicles on the road, and weigh a significant amount more. When you’re on the highway, and a slow truck is in the left lane, and you need to pass, is it okay to pass on the right? Do you know how much space you should be giving to trucks when you’re driving behind or beside them? If you’re looking for more insight on how to share the road with these huge vehicles, then read on.

What does the law say about passing on the right?

When it comes to passing on the right, the state’s laws do not distinguish between cars and trucks. When passing a vehicle on the road, all vehicles must follow Mississippi code §63-3-613:

  1. The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle which is making or about to make a left turn.
  2. The driver of a vehicle may overtake and, allowing sufficient clearance, pass another vehicle proceeding in the same direction either upon the left or upon the right on a roadway with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width for four (4) or more lines of moving traffic when such movement can be made in safety. The left lane shall be the preferred passing lane. No person shall drive off the pavement or upon the shoulder of the roadway overtaking or passing on the right.

In simple terms, if the vehicle in front of you is turning left, you can pass it on the right. Also, if there’s enough space and the road is wide, you can pass a car in front either on the left or the right. The left side is the better choice for passing.

What are some other tips when it comes to sharing the road with semi-trucks?

While there are no specific laws concerning passing trucks on the right, it’s always important to be careful when sharing the road with a semi-truck, whether you’re passing or not. Tractor-trailers require a lot of know-how to safely drive around. In 2022, there were 1,835 accidents involving trucks in Mississippi. In 704 of those accidents, there were injuries reported, and 49 of those accidents proved fatal. Taking every step to safely maneuver around trucks while sharing the road with them is important to avoiding a truck accident.

Several tips for navigating the roads and highways with big-rigs include:

  • Be aware of blind spots. Avoid a semi’s blind spots, including areas directly to the left of the cab, on the right extending outward and back from the passenger window, and directly in front of and close to the cab. If you are in those areas, the truck driver cannot see you, and may crash into you.
  • Maintain safe distances. Leave space for a semi’s braking, as it takes them time to slow down such a large and heavy vehicle, especially when going at high speeds. Giving truckers space enhances visibility and prevents potential accidents. Be extra cautious in bad weather, giving trucks additional space. Make sure to also provide plenty of space if a truck is turning, as they make wide turns. Failing to maintain enough space when driving behind a truck may result in you being involved in an underride accident, which are often fatal.
  • Use turn signals. Always use your turn signals when driving around trucks. This helps truck drivers understand your intentions, but never assume they have seen your signal.
  • Headlight etiquette. Dim your headlights when driving close to an 18-wheeler, especially at night. Bright lights can temporarily blind the truck driver, both from the front and via the truck’s large mirrors.
  • Avoid distractions. Stay off the phone and avoid distractions while driving. Texting, reaching for objects, or taking your eyes off the road can lead to accidents.
  • Patience with truckers. Be patient with truckers, understanding that certain maneuvers may seem slow. It takes time to perform actions like backing up safely.

Using these tips can help you to drive cautiously around trucks, cutting down on the chances of an accident. It should be noted, however, that while you may be driving carefully, the truck driver themselves might not be. While truck drivers are supposed to be trained and attentive, there are plenty of cases of truck drivers getting into accidents when they were distracted with their phones or navigational systems, or they caused a collision because they were fatigued or under the influence. Because you do not know the state of the truck driver, it only emphasizes the importance of you driving cautiously.

At Merkel & Cocke, P.A., we acknowledge that, despite driving cautiously around trucks, accidents may still occur due to a negligent truck driver and/or any number of liable parties. In such instances, our experienced team is ready to help you file a personal injury lawsuit. We will meticulously investigate the details surrounding the accident, establishing liability by uncovering evidence through various factors. Whether it involves the truck driver, cargo loading procedures, or safety lapses within the trucking company, our goal is to build a strong case on your behalf. Our Mississippi truck accident lawyers can help you seek just compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you’ve been in a truck accident, call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, Greenville, and Oxford.