You’ve felt the size difference between your car and a semitruck. It’s that feeling that you get when you look up into the cab of a truck and see just how high up the truck driver sits.

You’ve been lucky up to this point and you’ve never had to feel that size difference in a driving accident. But many people are not so lucky.

The following characteristics are unique to semitrucks. Make extra precautions when dealing with these three factors.

  • Stop time: Semitrucks need the distance of two football fields to slow down from 65 mph to a full stop, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). If you merge in front of a semi on the highway, know that they’ll need extra time and distance to brake for your car.
  • Blind spots: All four sides of a semitruck have their own blind spots. An important blind spot that drivers must avoid is directly behind the semi—don’t follow a semi too closely. Also, the blind spot to the right of a semi is quite large. Be careful when passing on the right side.
  • Wide turns: When a truck driver knows he needs to make a turn, he may swerve into another lane to give himself more space. You should always be on the lookout for a semitruck’s turn signals, especially at an intersection. You may need to give the driver some room in your lane.

As a regular driver, it’s important to know how to drive defensively. Semitrucks are one of the dangers on the road that you should educate yourself about.