Truckers share safety tips
Long-haul truckers will join the millions of other vehicles clogging the state’s arterials over the next several days. What’s on board? Not just turkeys and cranberries, but everything from electronics to holiday furnishings will travel the country by highway this coming weekend.
Truckers will be on high alert this Thanksgiving given the increase of passenger vehicles in both parking lots and on the roadway. OTE’s rest area staff will help truckers as much as possible by keeping automobiles away from truck-designated parking areas and pruning low-hanging branches near truck entrances and exits. Oregon’s Free Coffee Program volunteers will also be on duty dispensing hot coffee to weary drivers in need of a refresh.
Commercial truckers are very aware of the extra stress of reaching their destinations without incident, and offer holiday driving safety tips to all motorists.
“The only turkeys we want to see are on the table, not on the highway,” says Share the Road professional driver Byron Bramwell of YRC Freight. “The roads will be especially busy with people visiting family for Thanksgiving or starting their holiday shopping. Leave yourself a little extra time and space, slow down and be attentive while you’re driving.”
Bramwell and his fellow Share the Road professionals urge motorists to:
- Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45% and are a simple way to increase your safety on the road.
- Slow Down: With the extra highway congestion due to holiday travel, speeding becomes even more dangerous. Allow plenty of space between yourself and other vehicles, and reduce your speed.
- Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel: Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance before you leave your home can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road.
- Be aware of the vehicle in front of you: Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front so you can avoid snow and ice blowing onto your windshield or maneuver around patches of ice.
- Do not cut in front of large trucks: Remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
- Be aware of truck blind spots: When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of their blind spots. If you can’t see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see you.
- Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving.
- Plan ahead: Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.
- Check your emergency kit: Contents should include: battery powered radio, flashlight, blanket, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable foods, maps, tire repair kit and flares.
- Be aware of changes in weather: Weather conditions change rapidly – especially during early mornings and evenings with the cold. Watch for ice, snow and other weather related obstacles.
- Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early so you won’t be anxious about arriving late and to accommodate delays. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.
- Avoid extreme weather conditions: Ice, hail and snow make roads difficult to travel. Try to avoid driving through extreme weather conditions, and travel during daylight.
- Remove ice and snow from your vehicle: Clear your windows and roof of snow to insure you have maximum visibility and avoid creating a hazard for the vehicle behind you. Don’t allow ice and snow to create additional blind spots on your vehicle.
“It seems so simple, but buckling up, planning ahead and leaving yourself a little extra time can make all the difference,” says Share the Road trucker Thomas Miller with Prime Inc. “Winter weather can also make travel treacherous, so if it looks like the roads will get bad, stay home and wait to travel.
Share the Road Professional Drivers also remind the motoring public that from “driveway to highway” safety requires patience and dedication.
“This is a season where many professional drivers, including the ones that delivered an estimated 46 million turkeys for Thanksgiving, are away from home, so in addition to sharing the road safely, make sure you give them a little extra thought and thanks as you travel this year,” American Truckers Associations President and CEO Bill Graves said.
OTE would like to thank our state’s commercial truckers for helping keep our roads safe. We look forward to seeing you while you rest and refresh at one of our supervised rest areas.
Share the Road is a highway safety outreach program of the American Trucking Associations that educates all drivers about sharing the roads safely with large trucks. An elite team of professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles deliver life-saving messages to millions of motorists annually. The safety program is sponsored by Mack Trucks Inc. and Michelin North America Inc. www.atastr.org.