Knowing how to share the road safely with others is a vital part of everyday life. It is highly likely that you will use different modes of transportation over time to get to your destination of choice. Whether it be by car, truck, bus, motorcycle, bicycle, or foot, it is extremely important to know how to properly share the road. Since these methods of transportation are unique, there are certain things to keep in mind while on the road to ensure not only your own safety, but also the safety of others. This guide will offer some tips on how to share the road safely for cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
Driving a car puts you at a disadvantage for the simple fact that you will be sharing the road with some vehicles that are much larger, such as commercial trucks. You also run the risks of collisions with other cars at high speeds. To prevent accidents, you should always pay attention to the road and other vehicles around you. Avoid texting or using cell phones if possible, as they can cause unnecessary distractions. Make a habit of constantly checking your mirrors and blind spots, and use your turn signals to alert others of any lane changes you plan to make. Do not cut off other vehicles suddenly, as this could cause a chain of accidents. Drinking and driving or driving while on certain prescription drugs can slow your reaction times and can cause great risks for others who share the road, so avoid this combination at all costs. You should always buckle your seatbelt too to remain protected in the case of an accident.
Trucks and Buses
Truck and bus drivers carry great responsibilities. If you are a truck or bus driver, you not only are carrying precious cargo in terms of goods or passengers, but you have to do so while driving a vehicle much larger than the usual car. A very important measure to take as a truck or bus driver is to first ensure that you have proper rest and are well-fed before you even get behind the wheel. Driving such large vehicles for extended periods of time can be hard on the body, so you want to be as rested as possible beforehand. Trucks and buses should be maintained on an ongoing basis, and parts such as brakes should be checked prior to each trip. Since trucks and buses are so large, they take more time and distance to stop. For this reason, maintain sufficient distances between other vehicles and always look ahead for possible braking situations. Employ defensive driving, watch your no-zone or blind spots, and always fasten your seatbelt to remain safe.
Motorcyclists are at a major disadvantage since they are almost always using the smallest vehicles on the road. Riding a motorcycle also puts you at risk due to a lack of a seatbelt and overall protection that a normal car provides. The most important safety measure when riding a motorcycle is to always wear a helmet. A helmet could be the difference between life and death in the event of a crash and should always be worn even for a cruise around the neighborhood. Be sure to constantly watch other vehicles around you. Watch their brake lights and turn signals to anticipate any sudden changes. Keep your speed within the speed limit, especially in bad weather. Do not ride in other vehicles’ blind spots.
Riding a bicycle may be fun and good exercise, but it can also be dangerous. You should always wear a helmet and check your brakes before riding. Make sure your bicycle has sort of lighting if you ride at night. Use proper hand signals when turning. Do not ride close to large vehicles and stay out of blind spots. As a general rule of thumb, ride with traffic on the right side of the road. While riding against the flow of traffic could help you keep an eye on other vehicles, it can cause problems in terms of properly viewing traffic signs or lights.
Pedestrians do not have the luxury of protection on the road. If you are walking across a busy intersection or in a crowded downtown area, it may be difficult for drivers to see you. For this reason, it is your responsibility as a pedestrian to assume that others cannot see you. Do not walk near vehicles, stay out of blind spots, and obey traffic signs and lights. Stay completely off the street at a busy intersection to give oncoming vehicles plenty of room to maneuver. For added safety when walking at night, try to carry a flashlight or wear bright clothing to remain as visible as possible.
Information on Motorcycle Safety
Online Motorcycle Safety Booklet
Kids Pedestrian Safety Chart (PDF)
Pedestrian Newsletter Archives
Data on Bicycle and Pedestrian Research
PDF Brochure on Motor Carrier Safety
School Bus and School Zone Safety
School Bus Safety Tips for Parents (PDF)
Bicycle Safety for Adults (PDF)