Thursday, August 12, 2010
Summer Driver Safety: Sharing the Road
During the summer months many families log countless hours on the highways across the United States. Weekend road trips and driving to destinations are much more popular throughout the summer months. While road trips can be a lot of fun, highway driving can also be pretty dangerous if you fail to adhere to the rules of the road.
Highways across the country are filled with families throughout the summer months. However, highways are also a common place to find trucks, busses, and other large sized vehicles. Drivers must be extra cautious when driving around these larger vehicles because they face many limitations. For drivers who are unaware of these limitations, sharing the road with larger vehicles could be an extremely dangerous experience.
The United States’ Department of Transportation recommends the following ways drivers can help ensure their safety and the safety of their families while sharing the road with larger vehicles.
- Don’t Cut Off Other Vehicles
- Buckle Your Belt
- Steer Clear of the "No-Zones"
- Avoid being one of the "Inattentive Drivers"
- Avoid Being Squeezed
Cutting off another vehicle may lead to multiple drivers slamming on their brakes, especially on heavily congested roadways. In comparison with passenger vehicles, busses and trucks take much longer to stop. Forcing a driver of a large sized vehicle to slam on the brakes could cause a serious (potentially fatal) accident. When changing lanes in front of a truck, make sure the front of the truck is completely visible in the rear-view mirror before moving in front of it. That will help avoid those dangerous braking situations.
Seat belts are the best protection in the event of an accident. As mentioned above it takes longer for trucks and busses to come to a complete stop. The same is true when a car is struck by a large truck or bus. Wearing a seat belt helps prevent passengers from being thrown into the steering wheel, thrown through the windshield, tossed around the car and ejected from the vehicle in the event it is struck by a large vehicle.
No-Zones refer to the many blind spots large trucks have. The front, back and sides of the truck all have No-Zones. Remember, if you can't see the truck driver in the truck's mirror, the truck driver can’t see you. Try to avoid No-Zones whenever possible when driving next to large trucks. If it isn't possible to avoid the No-Zone completely, drive in and out of it quickly. Hanging out there is very dangerous.
Inattentive drivers don’t pay attention to driving or the road around them. Some characteristics of inattentive drivers are: driving slowly in the passing lane, ignoring a truck's brake lights or signals, and creating emergency- braking situations. Additionally, they often attempt to multi-task while driving, which creates dangerous situations as well. Instead of becoming an inattentive driver, pull over to the side of the road (or more safely, at a rest stop) I there is something that requires immediate attention.
Trucks make wide turns. Drivers who try to get in between trucks and the curb are often caught in a "squeeze" which can cause serious accidents. Sometimes, truck drivers need to swing wide to the left in order to safely make a right turn. This is especially true in more urban areas because the roads tend to be narrower there. Give trucks more room to maneuver and pay attention to truck signals.
Additionally, drinking and driving will also increase your risk of an accident. As always, drinking and driving is never a good plan. Following the United Sates Department of Transportation’s suggestions can help keep your life and the lives of your family members safe. In accidents involving passenger cars ad large trucks or busses, over two-thirds of the fatalities affect the people in the passenger vehicle.
Additional Driver Safety Tips for Sharing the Road with Large Trucks
Safe Driving Tips for Winter Driving in Texas
Posted by NSC - Traffic Safety at 8:45 AM