Passing a large truck is one of the most dangerous maneuvers that you can make on the road. These vehicles have limited views of what is happening around them. They are often unaware that you are passing or attempting to pass them except for a small part of the time.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration notes it is essential to understand what the truck driver can and cannot see to safely pass.
The main reason it is dangerous to pass a truck is the large blind spots. The truck driver has no view directly behind and in front of the truck. On the sides, the sight lines are also limited. If you cannot see the driver in the side mirror, then you can assume he or she cannot see you.
When passing, it is imperative that you try to make some eye contact with the driver, so you know the person knows you are going to pass.
Once you begin to pass a truck, you need to keep moving. Never ride alongside a truck. Move swiftly past. If you cannot do this, then do not pass the truck.
Other safety tips
While waiting to pass, do not get too close to the rear of the truck. Remember, the driver cannot see you, and you may not have enough time to react if the truck suddenly stops or slows down.
After you pass, make sure there is clearance from the front of the truck to get back into the lane. Do not cut off the truck or pull back over too soon.
If you do not carefully pass a truck, there is always a risk the driver will come into the lane with you, sideswiping your vehicle or driving over you. It is imperative that you drive defensively around these large vehicles to stay safe.