As you might expect, you will have to share the road with others.
This is why, in Michigan, there are a set of road rules on how to share the road.
And today, we’re going to look at those road rules.
This way, you know what to do whenever you meet a certain vehicle.
So let’s dive right in!
Sharing the Road in Michigan
Not all vehicles are treated the same. In the following sections, we’ll talk about what you need to do depending on the vehicle you’re sharing the road with.
We’ll look at:
- How to share the road with commercial vehicles
- How to share the road with slow-moving vehicles
- How to share the road with pedestrians
- How to share the road with bicycles, motorcycles, and scooters
- How to share the road with school buses
Let’s look at each one in detail.
How to Share the Road with Commercial Vehicles
Commercial vehicles are the biggest vehicles you’ll see on the road. These include trucks, trailers, double trailers, and even tanks.
Because of the size, commercial vehicles tend to have a blind side. In other words, there are sides where, if you stay there, you won’t be seen by the driver.
So to avoid colliding with them, here are the road rules you need to follow:
- Take note of where the blind sides are. These are at the front, beside the driver’s or passenger’s seats, and behind the truck. Avoid staying in these areas.
- Always make yourself visible. To do this, stay by the rear side of the vehicle if possible.
- Keep a safe distance behind a commercial vehicle. Make sure that if you are behind, you leave a few meters between you and the vehicle.
- If the commercial vehicle signals to take a turn, give them some space and never stay beside them. Large vehicles might take two lanes to complete a turn.
- If you intend to pass or make a lane change, signal in advance. Give time for the driver ahead to see your intention before you pass.
- After passing, make sure that you see the full truck on your side mirrors before returning to the same lane.
- If a commercial vehicle is backing up, change lanes as soon as possible. Do not stay directly behind them because you might get hit.
How to Share the Road with Slow-Moving Vehicles
Slow-moving vehicles can be commercial or private vehicles that travel at a speed of 25 mph. These vehicles often have a red-and-orange triangle sign at the back.
When you encounter a slow-moving vehicle, there’s no need to honk because it can’t speed up to give way. Nonetheless, drivers of slow-moving vehicles may try to give you a way so that it doesn’t cause any traffic.
Some animal-drawn vehicles are also considered slow-moving. They won’t often have the slow-moving sign, though.
If you see any animal-drawn vehicle, don’t honk because it will startle the animal. Just signal and pass it when it’s safe.
How to Share the Road with Pedestrians
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable on the road. While pedestrians are held responsible for their safety when crossing, drivers should also be alert if they encounter them on the road.
Here are things to remember when there are pedestrians on the sidewalk:
- Always yield to pedestrians even if they’re not on the crosswalk.
- Avoid honking or speeding past pedestrians when you see them entering the crosswalk.
- Stay behind the marked line before a crosswalk. If there is no line, make sure you are a few feet behind the crosswalk.
- Never block a crosswalk.
- If you are entering a school zone, be alert for children that might cross the road.
- Regardless of where you are, if you see people on the sidewalk, prepare to yield or make a complete stop if they step on the road.
How to Share the Road with Bicycles, Motorcycles, Scooters
Bicycles, motorcycles, and scooters have limitations. However, the limitations of these two- or three-wheeled vehicles make it challenging for drivers to identify if they will pass, turn, or speed up.
If you are driving alongside these vehicles, follow these road rules:
- Give enough room for these vehicles. Do not stay side-by-side with them in one lane.
- Leave enough space between you and these vehicles. The space allows you to have enough room to adjust your driving if they pass or slow down.
- Make sure the road is clear of these vehicles before making a turn. Check if any motorcycle, bicycle, or scooter is approaching the intersection.
- Pay attention to the turn or hand signals being made by the driver. If they plan to turn, do not speed up and pass them.
- Do not speed up when you pass them. The wind created by this speed can startle the driver or cause the vehicle to lose balance.
- When parking or opening a car door, check for incoming bicycles, motorcycles, or scooters.
How to Share the Road with School Buses
Did you know that, in Michigan, there are special laws when driving alongside school buses?
Here are some:
- Always stop when a school bus starts to flash its red lights. This means that they are picking up or dropping off children.
- There’s no need to stop if a school bus is in the opposite direction and there is an island or median separating the lanes.
Failure to follow these laws will result in fines. Some may result in imprisonment, especially if someone was injured or has died.
Don’t worry, school buses are required to be yellow so they are easily spotted. They will also have red and yellow lights to help signal their intent.
Here are other rules to remember when driving alongside a school bus:
- Stay alert for children on the sidewalk. Be prepared to yield or make a full stop if they cross towards a school bus.
- When the school bus flashes a yellow light, it means that it is about to stop. Slow down and prepare to stop behind them.
- If the red flashing lights are on, remain stopped. Only proceed after the lights are turned off.
When sharing the road with other vehicles, it’s important to be mindful of their movements. This way, you can decide when to pass, turn, or give room.
In general, being cautious about your surroundings is the most important thing to do. Even if there are no people and large or small vehicles near you, being cautious helps you prepare for what’s to come.
Remember, safety first!