Respect the Rig – Tips for Safely Sharing the Road
Every day, hardworking professional drivers head out to deliver America’s food, fuel, medicine, and clothing — the highway is their office. Pretty much everything that you use and depend upon in your everyday life is brought by trucks. Professional drivers spend their nights and days on the road, moving America. Even though you might not see them high up in their cabs, they’re working diligently and cautiously just for you.
Professional drivers as well as the “four wheelers” on the nation’s highways and roads have at least one major interest in common: At the end of the day, everyone wants to get home safely to their loved ones and a warm bed. Research from the American Trucking Association contends that drivers in passenger cars are often at fault when it comes to car-truck accidents — nearly 75% of the time in fatal incidents. With this in mind, it’s important to remember to respect truck drivers who are trying to do their job as safely as possible and know how to best navigate and share the road with them.
Here are some helpful practices for “four wheelers” to undertake to reduce the risk of an incident:
- When it comes to passing, pass on the left, not the right. There’s a reason the left lane is for passing, so use it and do it at a steady, yet safe speed. By doing so, you’ll be able to stay out of a truck driver’s largest blind spot. When merging back over, make sure there is plenty of room between your car and the truck to provide maximum visibility.
- When you’re next to a truck, keep in mind if you can’t see the driver in their side-view mirrors then they probably can’t see you. Get in the driver’s line of sight and make sure to always use proper turn signals so that they always know your intentions.
- It is important to maintain a safe distance behind or in front of a truck when sharing a lane. Because it’s more difficult and takes 40% longer for a truck to stop, you should always keep about twenty car lengths behind a trailer, and four lengths in front.
- Stay off of your phone! During any given day, 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving which creates an enormous potential for accidents. Please stay safe and always keep your eyes on the road.
- If a truck driver is making a wide turn, he or she may have to first swing a bit to the opposite side to negotiate the turn. So stay clear of a turning truck, avoiding the adjacent position when turns are being taken.
- Wear your seatbelt without exception! Accidents can happen no matter how good a driver is, and wearing it could mean the difference between life and death. 2001 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 60% of passengers killed in all traffic crashes were not wearing their seatbelt. Each time you get the behind wheel, please remember to buckle up.