In the oilfield it is a daily routine to share roadways with large trucks as many provide services critical to oil field operations. Knowing how to share the roads with these transport trucks will keep you safe.
Keep in mind many oil industry workers are fatigued as job hours are normally long, the weather and environmental conditions can be extreme which also can take its toll. Throw in some stress, complacency possibly and being away from your family and you will find that sometimes the mind tends to wander. These are all potential factors that could contribute to an incident.
Here are some truck traffic safety tips to keep in mind when using the same roads when traveling to and from worksites.
Important Pointers for Motorists (Taken from AMA)
It is important that motorists be aware of the prime constraints linked to operating a heavy vehicle so as to better understand trucker’s moves and to be able to drive defensively. Take note of the following when sharing the road with commercial vehicles:
- Keep visible. If you are driving behind a truck and cannot see both of its side mirrors, then you’re too close. If you can see the trucker’s face in the side mirrors then he/she can see you.
- Don’t tailgate, as you may not have enough time and space to brake. Always maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. For cars, this distance corresponds to a 2-second interval; for truckers, allow two seconds plus one second per 3 meters of vehicle length.
- If you are driving in front of a truck, always indicate your intention to turn or change lanes early as trucks require more stopping distance. Avoid sudden moves.
- Passing a commercial vehicle requires more time and space than passing a car. On a two-way road, signal your intention to pass and once the way is clear don’t hesitate. It is safe to move back into the right-hand lane when you can see the entire truck in your rearview mirror. After passing maintain your speed.
- Set your windshield wipers to the highest speed before passing on rainy days.
- Given the size of commercial vehicles, sometimes they have to straddle lanes to make their turn. When a truck indicates it wishes to turn at an intersection, cooperate by staying behind and letting it finish the turn rather than cutting it off.
- Stay out of the “No-Zones” – these are the truck’s blind spots. These are the areas along both sides of the truck not covered by the rearview mirrors, the space immediately in front of and behind the truck, and the right front of the cab. These blind spots are also much larger than those of a passenger vehicle.
- Try to keep the centre or left highway lane open as trucks rely on it for the passing lane.
- Always drive with your lights on – you can see other vehicles and they can see you.
The key points to remember when you encounter big rigs are, the bigger the truck then:
- the bigger their blind spots;
- the more room they need to maneuver;
- the longer it takes them to stop;
- the longer it takes to pass them; and
- the more likely you will be seriously injured or killed in the event of a collision