Truckers Offer Safety Tips for Holiday Season

The Thanksgiving holiday is the busiest travel time of the year, with people moving all around the country returning home to visit friends and family. With so many people taking to the road at once, the number of accidents is bound to increase. With this in mind, the American Trucking Association has released guidelines to help keep drivers safe. Called the “Share the Road” campaign, it’s an effort to give drivers an understanding of how to keep safe when driving around tractor trailers, and how to keep your family safe this holiday season.

The truck drivers who speak during Share the Road events are truckers who are million-mile accident free truckers, meaning they have driven over one million miles in their careers without an accident. They are recognized as some of the safest drivers in their field. During the year, these truckers travel to schools and communities, speaking about their experience driving a truck and giving people a first-hand account of what it’s like to sit behind the wheel of a big rig.

In fact, one of the activities they allow the students to do is to literally sit behind the wheel of a big rig, checking out the mirrors and seeing exactly how far blind spots extend. Drivers can take for granted that trucks can see them, without having an idea just how little visibility those truckers have in the cab. This exercise gives the person a real-life look at just what the driver can (and can’t) see.

Even without this first-hand knowledge of sitting behind the wheel, there are certain things that drivers can do to make sure truckers can see them. Share the Road offers an instructional video to educate the public. Some tips they offer:

  • Make sure you can see the truck driver’s face in the mirror. If you can see the trucker’s eyes, that means the trucker can see you. If the trucker’s face is not visible, however, you should move out of that blind spot into a safe zone where you are visible to the trucker.
  • Never pass on the right-hand side. The blind spot for a tractor trailer is much larger on the passenger side of the truck. The passenger side blind spot can extend three lanes wide and the length of the truck. If it is unavoidable and you must pass on the right side of the truck, do not linger in the blind spot.
  • Make sure you can see both truck headlights in the rear view mirror before pulling in front of the truck. A fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is equivalent to 25 cars. Because of this increased weight, it can take trucks 300 feet, the length of a football field, to come to a complete stop. If a driver pulls in front of the truck too closely and then has to stop suddenly, the trucker may not be able to stop in time, causing serious injury driver of the car it has just rear-ended.

By following these tips, families can have safe, happy holiday seasons.