​Every day truck drivers share the road with other vehicles as they attempt to safely navigate their route. Drivers are used to looking out for cars and adjusting their driving behavior accordingly to avoid collisions. However, there are other types of vehicles and hazards on the road that may not be as common but require similar focus. Share the following information with your drivers to help them avoid collisions with these less common road hazards.

Motorcycles

It is important to remember that motorcycles are smaller than cars. Drivers should be aware of their truck’s blind spots and keep in mind that motorcycles may be even more difficult to spot in their mirrors. Drivers should signal their intentions well in advance to allow the motorcyclist to find a safe lane position. They can lean into their mirrors and move their head side to side to help bring blind spots into view. Keeping windows and mirrors clean, especially during inclement weather and nighttime hours, also helps drivers to better see what is around them.

Road conditions that are minor issues to other vehicles can be major hazards to motorcyclists. They may change speed or adjust position within a lane suddenly in reaction to conditions such as potholes, wet or slippery surfaces and pavement seams. Drivers should leave plenty of space between their vehicle and the motorcycle so they have time to react to these adjustments accordingly. Motorcycles can also stop much quicker than cars, so extra following distance behind them is necessary. 

Farm equipment

If your drivers are in rural areas, they may approach slow-moving farm vehicles and equipment, which may enter the roadway from side streets that are hidden from the truck driver’s view. Drivers should slow down as soon as they spot the vehicle. They should not attempt to pass farm vehicles as they are often wide and hard to see around to spot oncoming traffic. These vehicles typically don’t stay on the road too long so drivers should remain patient and maintain an increased following distance until the farm vehicle is off the main road.

Animals

Deer, livestock or other animals might run onto the road without being seen. Collisions with animals tend to happen in rural areas just after dusk and just before dawn, when visibility is low. Drivers should look for “animal crossing” or other signs posted in areas with a high volume of animals. If they see one of these signs, drivers should slow down and be on the lookout.

Honking a horn can sometimes prevent deer or other animals from running into traffic but remember that animals are unpredictable. Braking firmly and not swerving is the best course of action. If the driver does strike an animal, he or she should be careful when exiting the vehicle. The animal could still be alive and charge at the driver. It’s safer to stay in the vehicle and call 911 to report the collision.

Horse-drawn vehicles

In addition to farm equipment and animals, truck drivers may also encounter horse-drawn vehicles like buggies in rural areas, particularly near Amish communities. Normal speeds for horse-drawn buggies range from 5 to 8 mph. Keep in mind, rural roads are often narrower in width than city streets so passing these vehicles can be dangerous. Drivers should only pass when it’s legal and safe to do so. Slow down and give the horse-drawn buggies plenty of room when passing. The horses are normally accustomed to traffic, however drivers should be aware that their vehicle can spook the horse at any time, causing them to instantly change their behavior.

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  • Driving Techniques
  • Transportation Safety
  • Sharing the Road
  • Seasonal Driving Tips