The size and weight of large commercial vehicles create challenges that owner-operators can manage using good judgement and defensive driving techniques. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), safe following distances, proper speeds and yielding the right-of-way are vital to collision avoidance. The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA) also reminds drivers that managing speed and space not only gives the owner-operator more time to think and take action, it also helps to avoid collisions with other vehicles on the road.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is working on educating the public about how to drive safely around large commercial vehicles that are on the road with its new campaign, “Our Roads, Our Responsibility.” The campaign educates drivers of four wheeled vehicles about sharing the road, reminding the public that trucks and buses are more difficult to maneuver, have massive blind spots and need more time for stopping. The FMCSA also reminds professional truck drivers that smaller vehicles may not know the key ways to share the road with big trucks.
According to the NTHSA, there are certain things large commercial vehicles can do to manage speed and space around smaller vehicles:
- Scan the road ahead
- Use extra caution during inclement weather
- Maintain a safe following distance
- Know how long it will take to stop
- Yield the right-of-way
- Use caution when turning and changing lanes
Landstar’s “Drive for Five” campaign designed with information from the NSC and the NTHSA, reminds owner-operators to always protect the zones around your truck and drive for five people: 1) yourself, 2) the vehicle in front of you, 3) behind you, 4) to the right side of you, and 5) to the left side.