Sharing the Road
Always be cautious around school buses and know when the law requires you to stop for one that is loading or unloading students. Vehicles behind a bus that is loading or unloading students must always stop. Opposing traffic does not need to stop on highways with four or more lanes if two lanes are going in each direction.
Motorists must be on the lookout for motorcycles and anticipate sudden and unexpected moves from them. Motorcycles are entitled to the same full lane width as other vehicles.
Motorcycles are smaller, harder to see, and can move faster and stop faster than expected. Their control is more easily hampered by road defects and debris. You should watch for motorcycles, use extra caution when driving around them and increase your following distance.
If you cut in front of another vehicle, you may create an emergency-braking situation for the vehicles around you, especially in heavy traffic. Trucks and buses take much longer to stop in comparison to cars. When passing, look for the front of the truck in your rearview mirror before pulling in front, and avoid braking situations.
Large trucks have blind spots, or “no-zones,” around the front, back, and sides of the vehicle. These no-zones make it difficult for the driver to see. Avoid being caught in a truck’s no-zone. If you can’t see the truck driver in the truck’s mirror, the truck driver can’t see you.
Be careful of trucks making wide right turns. If you try to get in between the truck and the curb, you’ll be caught in a “squeeze” crash. Truck drivers sometimes need to swing widely to the left in order to safely negotiate a right turn. They can’t see cars directly behind or beside them. Cutting in between the truck and the curb increases the possibility of a crash. So pay attention to truck signals, and give them lots of room to maneuver.
Work zones can be very dangerous, especially when traveling on the highway. It’s important to be alert and prepared to slow down or stop. Slowing down and allowing others to merge will ensure a safe passage through work zones. Here are a few tips on work zone safety:
- Stay alert and follow posted speed limits: Work zones are busy places where construction vehicles and workers are always moving. Be alert, and stay on the safe path that is designated throughout the work zone. Remember: speed limits are reduced in work zones for a reason.
- Take your cues from trucks: Work zones often pop up suddenly. If you are not paying attention to the signs, you could find yourself in a serious crash. Since trucks have a height advantage and can see ahead of traffic, their brake light activity can provide a good signal of a slow-down or work zone ahead. Truck drivers know the stopping limitations of their trucks and pay close attention to traffic.
- Merge gently: Aggressive drivers can be extremely dangerous while driving in work zones. Work zones require time and courtesy. For a smooth passage through work zones, allow others to merge in front of you. Be especially considerate of trucks; they require more space to merge and are the least maneuverable vehicles on the road.
- Safe distance: Leave extra space between you and the vehicle in front of you, and keep a safe distance between you and workers on or near the roadway.
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration