When sharing the road with large trucks, buses, cars, bicycles, and pedestrians, it’s everyone’s responsibility to drive safely. As a way to encourage safe driving habits and sharing the road with other drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration developed a campaign called “Our Roads, Our Safety.” In this blog, we’ll be discussing the importance of this campaign and how it can improve our roadways. 


About “Our Roads, Our Safety” Campaign

In the United States, there are 12 million large trucks and buses registered to operate on the roads. It’s important for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians to know that driving large types of vehicles is not the same as driving a car. Commercial-sized vehicles are difficult to maneuver, have major blind spots, and take a lot longer to stop. With this in mind, drivers should use caution when driving near them — whether that be in front of, behind, or passing by. Reckless driving (or just simple carelessness) around large trucks and buses significantly increases the likelihood of crashes, injuries, and fatalities. Just by being aware of these challenges and taking accountability while driving will help improve safety while on the road.


Safety Challenges

Like we said, driving a large truck or bus is not the same as driving a car. In most instances, a crash involving a truck or bus will be significantly worse compared to a small vehicle crash. Here are some examples from the “Our Road, Our Safety” campaign of how trucks and buses differ from passenger cars and what challenges come along with them.

Size Differences

The size of your vehicle greatly impacts how you maneuver the road. Trucks are often 20 to 30 times heavier than passenger vehicles. Not only do they take up more space physically, but they need more room on the road in all aspects — like when stopping, taking a turn, or backing up. Because they are so much larger, it takes more time to both accelerate and brake. 

Large Blind Spots

You’ve probably experienced some type of blind spot in your own car, but imagine having a trailer that’s 5x longer following behind you. Trucks have large blind spots on all four sides of the vehicle. In most cases, if you can’t see the driver in the side mirror, the driver can’t see you. As a result, be extra cautious when passing or being passed by a large vehicle. And, avoid getting too close while a truck is turning, backing up, or changing lanes. 

Long Stopping Distances

Vehicles with heavier loads, take a lot more work to stop. This means the stopping time and distance for a truck or bus is much greater than smaller vehicles. According to the FMCSA, a fully loaded truck traveling at highway speeds in good conditions needs about two football fields to stop. Never quickly cut in front of a truck as that reduces the truck’s safe stopping distance. 

Wide Turns

Trucks can’t maneuver as easily as cars, which means they can’t make sharp turns. If you encounter a truck in a tight space, like in a work zone, truck stop, or parking lot, give them extra room. It’s important to know that when trucks are turning right from the right lane, they may initially move left to create enough turning space, so pay attention and give them space when needed. 


Closing Thoughts

As you hit the road, keep these challenges in mind and follow the rules of the road. Stay out of blind spots, pass safely, don’t cut it close, stay back, anticipate wide turns, be patient, and always buckle up! To learn more about how you can be a safe driver and raise awareness about sharing the road, take a look at the “Our Road, Our Safety’s” Outreach Toolkit provided by the FMCSA. 

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