A wide range of vehicles use Alberta's roads every day - cars, trucks, motorcycles, school buses, tractor trailers, and even farm equipment. Every road user shares the responsibility to keep our roads as safe as possible. Here are some tips for sharing the road.
Many Albertans drive to and from work, school, appointments, and social events every day. While it may seem routine, driving is a very complicated activity. So be conscious about developing safer driving habits.
- Avoid blind spots - if you're behind a tractor trailer, bus, RV, or other large vehicle and you can't see that vehicle's side mirrors, you're in the vehicle's blind spot. There are also large blind spots along the sides of long vehicles, so don't drive right beside them.
- Check your own blind spots - smaller road users, including cyclists and motorcyclists, can be more difficult to see. Make sure to regularly check your mirrors and your blind spots, especially before you change lanes, stop, or turn.
- Don't tailgate - always assume the vehicle in front of you may need to brake suddenly and leave enough room for yourself to also stop suddenly without rear-ending them. Remember that larger vehicles often need to drive more slowly, especially on hills. So be patient, give them the room they need, and only pass when it is safe to do so.
- Don't cut them off - large vehicles need more time to stop so don't cut in front of them, especially coming up to a light. When passing any vehicle, don't pull in front of them until you can see the entire front of the vehicle in your rear view mirror. Also be careful when you're turning left across oncoming traffic. Smaller vehicles, like motorcycles, are look farther away than they really are. Make sure you have enough room and time to turn safely.
- Give them room - whether you're driving near a cyclist or a tractor trailer, make sure to give each other the space they need. For example, large vehicles may need to take up more than one lane to make up for their wider turns, so pay attention to their signals.
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE DRIVERS
Drivers of tractor trailers, buses, school buses, and other commercial vehicles play an important role in moving goods and people around the province. RVs and travel trailers also share the unique challenges of driving a vehicle that is taller, wider, longer, and heavier than other vehicles on the road.
- Leave more room - it takes large vehicles longer to stop. Leave more room between you and the vehicle in front of you. It also takes longer to get up to speed, so leave more room before entering traffic.
- Take your time - slow down on hills, both uphill and downhill. On multi-lane roads, keep to the right. On one-lane roads, allow traffic to pass when it is safe to do so. And always drive to conditions. You can use your flashers to alert other drivers that you'll be driving slowly.
- Check your blind spots - your blind spots are much larger. Check your mirrors frequently and look for vehicles, motorcyclists, or cyclists who might be in your side blind spots. Stay far enough back from the vehicle ahead of you to allow a slow, gradual stop - there may be someone in your rear blind spot and this can help prevent a rear-end collision.
- Use signals - larger vehicles need more space to maneuver. Make sure to use your turn signals to let other drivers know what you're doing, especially if you need to use more than one lane to complete a turn.
- Look up - remember how tall you are! Be aware of bridges, overpasses, or even gas stations with low clearance.
Motorcycles are smaller than other motor vehicles, making them harder to see. In addition, motorcyclists are more vulnerable in collisions, since they're not enclosed in a vehicle's engineered life space.
- Stay visible - because you're smaller than other vehicles, you can be harder to see. Make sure to stay out of blind spots. You can also increase your visibility by wearing bright and reflective gear.
- Night rider - you become even more difficult to spot at night, so increase the distance you leave between you and the vehicle in front of you and be extra cautious of vehicles turning left across your path.
- Don't tailgate - just like with other drivers, always assume the vehicle in front of you may need to brake suddenly and leave enough room for yourself to also stop suddenly without running into them. Remember, you're more vulnerable that other road users. Be patient and be cautious.
Check out the Alberta Motor Association's failgating campaign.