Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sharing the Road - Driving Safely around Trucks

As we see trucks on the road we automatically assume that what we can see, truck drivers can see but nothing is further from the truth.  Trucks have large blind spots on all four sides of them, the driver's side, the passenger side, in front of them as well as behind them.
This was demonstrated today by representatives of the Michigan State Police, the Kent County Sheriff's Department, the Michigan Department of Highway Safety and the Michigan Center for Truck Safety, as  Alpine Ave Wal-Mart visitors had the opportunity to sit behind the steering wheel of a big rig to get a feel of what truck drivers experience every day.
We make many assumptions about truck drivers but while they are professional drivers, they often share the road with amateurs or drivers who are not cognizant of the dangers they may be creating.  In addition to learning about blind spots, people were reminded about leaving enough space when changing lanes in front of large trucks, (remember that large trucks need more space and time to stop than passenger vehicles), maintaining your speed when passing, not tail gating because you don't know what is in front of that truck that may cause the driver to make a sudden stop, and allowing large trucks plenty of room when entering a highway or merging with traffic.  All this according to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. 
Law Enforcement received a $500,000 grant that will be used to add extra patrols to the U.S. 131 and I-196 corridor in Kent and Ottawa counties. The grant came from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Twenty percent was matched by the Michigan Truck Safety Commission. Half of the money goes to the enforcement portion (paying the officers) and the other half was spent on statistical research and public add campaigns
Police will be looking for violations from drivers of passenger vehicles and semi-trucks, such as improper lane use, careless and reckless driving, speeding, following too close, and failure to yield the right of way.

Violators could face fines between $100 and $500.

Officers from different agencies were on hand

Learning about safety when big truck are around


Ready to answer questions and hand out educational material were Melody Kindrake, Communications Coordinator for the Media Relations and Outreach Unit of the Michigan State Police, and Sergeant Cory Luce with the Traffic Safety Unit of the Kent County Sheriff's Department, whose duties include investigating fatal accidents.


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