Safely Sharing the Road this Holiday Season

Winter weather is upon us, and along with that comes treacherous driving conditions. Safely sharing the road with every vehicle, big or small, is especially important at this time of year.

When you come across a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), in the city or on the highway, keep in mind they are much larger and heavier than a regular car, which affects the amount of time the driver needs to react to traffic changes. Being extra cautious around larger vehicles during the winter months will help keep the roads safer for everyone.

Here are five ways you can help keep our roads safe:

  1. Correctly change lanes. CMVs need a much greater stopping distance due to the size and weight of the truck, and that distance only increases in the winter months.  When changing lanes, always use your lane change indicator and make sure the driver can see you.  CMVs can weigh up to 140,000 lbs. and take up to two football fields to come to a complete stop and that distance only increases in inclement weather.
  2. Don’t tailgate. When you are behind a CMV, make sure you can see all of the truck’s mirrors.  If you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, you are too close, and the driver won’t be able to see you.  Always give yourself at least 4 seconds distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you so that you can safely come to a complete stop.
  3. Be Patient. CMVs need more time to get up to highway speed, and more time to slow down so be patient and keep a safe distance so that the driver doesn’t have to attempt any quick maneuvers.  CMVs can roll fairly easily if the content of the trailer shifts. Throw in some bad weather and impatient car drivers, and it only gets harder.
  4. Avoid blind spots. When driving near a CMV, it is important to take into account the driver’s blind spots.  Avoid driving along side of the truck, immediately in front of the truck, or immediately behind the truck.  If you cannot see the truck driver’s reflection in his or her side mirror, you are in the truck driver’s blind spot and they cannot see you.
  5. Keep your washer fluid full. When driving in the winter, make sure your washer fluid is always full. In the winter months, CMVs can spray a lot of snow or slush on your vehicle, especially when changing lanes so be prepared and clear your windshield quickly for safe visibility.

When you come across a CMV on the road, be patient and give them their space and the roads will be safer for everyone this holiday season.