Visibility (the illusion of)

Understanding the Illusion of Visibility

Anyone who’s ever ridden a motorcycle or bicycle in traffic understands that they must act as if they are invisible and assume that every other driver out there can't see them. Motorcycle safety classes teach this concept as one of the basics of safe operation.

On the other hand, we in big trucks tend to assume that everyone can see us and drive accordingly. As a consequence, we are often involved in accidents when it seemed that there was no way that the other driver could not have seen us and avoided the collision. To begin with, NEVER assume that the other driver sees you. Too often they are on the phone, texting, reading, or distracted by others in the car.

Ever been to the airport and watched large jets taking off or landing? Even though they are traveling at speeds in excess of 150 mph, it appears that they are just floating along. Why? Their size creates the illusion of slower speeds. The size of your truck has the same effect on young or inexperienced drivers. Even whey they see us approaching, they fail to realize how close we are or how long it will take us to clear their path. As a consequence, they pull out in front of us with no realization that they are risking their lives and the lives of those in the car with them.

Instead of assuming that everyone can see us and expecting them to adjust to our presence, maybe we need to consider that we are driving "invisible trucks" and act as if people don't see us. By doing so, we will all become much more defensive and avoid the "accidents that should have never happened". Remember - never expect the other driver to adjust to you. Give him enough time and distance to avoid braking, swerving, or taking any other action. Become the "invisible driver" and drive like you were on a motorcycle instead of in an 80,000 lb truck.