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Troopers, Truckers Offer Advice on Sharing the Road

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RALEIGH — The basic rule-of-thumb when trucks andcars tangle on the highway is: cars don't stand a chance. Supportingthat theory are two recent incidents. Wednesday, two people were killed onInterstate 95 when the driver of a car changed lanes in front of a truck.On August 23, 1996, eight people died on I-85 after a tractor-trailerplowed into a cluster of slow moving cars.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol says there are some lessons to belearned. The rules of the road are only a starting point when dealing withbig rigs.

Trucker Paul Spradling says it often seems drivers of smaller vehicleswill do whatever it takes to get around a slow-moving truck.

The highway patrol says Wednesday's crash resulted from a driver makingan improper lane change into the path of a truck. Driver Thomas Groomssays it's not an uncommon practice.

It takes longer to stop trucks and the larger the truck, generally, thelonger it takes to stop it. It all comes down to physics. Some trucksweigh as much as 80,000 pounds and move at speeds of 55-to-70 mph. Thatadds up to a lot of time and distance for stopping.

One old adage says you should be able to see the "whites of the truckdriver's eyes" before pulling over into the truck's lane. While that maysound impossible, the point is that you should be far enough ahead of thetruck to see the windshield in your rear-view mirror without straining.

Trooper A.A. Haswell sayspeople need to think logically about traveling alongside tractor-trailers.

When a car and truck collide the price paid can be extremely high.State troopers recommend using your rear-view mirrors and keeping an eye onblind spots. They also say it could pay to simply slow down and bepatient.

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