Large trucks and buses have blind spots, long stopping distances and limited maneuverability that make it vital for other drivers to focus on safety.
Simple actions by all passenger vehicle drivers and motorcyclists can help to avoid problems. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Our Road, Our Safety campaign reminds drivers to follow these 10 rules of the road:
- Stay out of the “No Zones”. Do not drive in a blind spot. If you are unable to see the driver in the side mirror, assume they cannot see you. Slow down or move ahead with caution to remain visible.
- Pass Safely. Make sure you can see the driver in the vehicle mirror. Signal clearly then move into the left lane and accelerate so that you can get past the truck or bus safely and pass promptly. Make sure the truck or bus is visible in your rearview mirror before you pull in front. Don’t pass trucks and buses on downgrades where they tend to pick up speed.
- Don’t Cut it Close. It’s extremely dangerous to “cut off” a commercial bus or truck. The vehicle may not be able to slow quickly to avoid a crash because of the amount of time it takes to stop.
- Stay Back. Tailgating a truck or bus puts you in a blind spot. Because trucks are high off the ground, your vehicle could slide (or get pushed) under a truck in a crash. Stay back when stopped.
- Anticipate Wide Turns. Buses and trucks need extra turning room, they swing wide or may start a turn from a middle lane. Never try to squeeze by or get between a turning vehicle and the curb. Never “block the box” at an intersection or stop in front of the line, so buses and trucks can turn safely.
- Be Patient. Trucks and buses need time to accelerate and sometimes use technology like speed limiters. Honking, driving aggressively, or weaving through traffic can cause dangerous distractions and crashes.
- Buckle Up. Using a safety belt is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to save lives. Make sure kids always ride in the back seat, buckled up or in car seats.
- Stay Focused. If you need to attend to anything except driving, get off the road and stop. Driving distracted is as dangerous as driving impaired.
- Don’t Drive Fatigued. Take regular breaks, get another driver to relieve you, or get off the road and find a safe place to rest.
- Never Drive Under the Influence. Alcohol and other drugs impair judgment and reaction time. There is no safe limit for drinking before driving. Prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs may cause dizziness, sleepiness and/or slow reaction time. If your medication carries a warning, have someone else drive or use other transportation.
For the full Our Roads, Our Safety article and printable material, visit the FMCSA website here.