How do you drive safely when around large trucks?
Today, we’ll give you tips on how to share the road with different vehicles (and people). This way, you can obey the North Carolina rules of the road, as well as be the safest driver out there.
We have a lot to cover, so let’s get down to business!
How to Share the Road with Pedestrians
Pedestrians, regardless of whether they cross on a crosswalk or not, have the right of way.
They are the most at risk on the road, so drivers should always be alert to them.
Here are some ways to share the road with them:
- Stop at the line before a crosswalk. If there is no line, stop before the crosswalk.
- Never occupy a crosswalk, even if no pedestrians are crossing.
- Pedestrians have the right of way when they’re on marked or unmarked crosswalks. Even if the light is green, yield to pedestrians that are crossing.
- When there is a blind person (with a white cane and a red tip or a guide dog), do not honk at them to tell you where you are. Instead, give a distance and wait for them to cross the road.
How to Share the Road with School Buses
In North Carolina, there are special rules to follow when there is a school bus on the road:
- When a school bus has red flashing lights and a stop sign put out, you should stop. This applies if you are behind the school bus OR when you’re traveling in the opposite lane of it.
- If a school bus stops and you’re on a four-lane roadway with a center turning lane or there is a median separator, only vehicles traveling in the same direction as the school bus are required to stop.
- You can only pass when the school bus has withdrawn the stop sign and turned off the flashing lights.
- If you are passing a school zone, slow down and be alert for children crossing the road. There might also be children going in and out of a school bus.
How to Share the Road with Emergency Vehicles
As a general rule, you have to yield the right of way when an emergency vehicle is approaching. And yes, that includes those who are driving in the opposite direction.
Examples of emergency vehicles are police cars, ambulances, rescue vehicles, and fire trucks.
When you see an emergency vehicle with flashing lights and/or blaring sirens, here’s what to do:
- Drive to the right-hand curb to give way to the emergency vehicle. Make a full stop once you are able to move to the side.
- Stay stopped until the emergency vehicle passes.
- Do not park within 100 feet of an emergency vehicle that has stopped to assist in an emergency.
- If there are parked emergency vehicles with flashing lights turned on, you are required to move to a lane that is not the nearest lane to the parked or standing emergency vehicles. If there is only one lane, reduce speed when you are passing the emergency vehicle. Go back to normal speed once you’ve passed them.
How to Share the Road with Farm Equipment
Since North Carolina is home to a lot of agricultural companies, expect to encounter slow-moving vehicles and agricultural equipment on the road.
NOTE: Slow-moving vehicles are marked with an orange reflector triangular sign at the rear of the vehicle.
Here is how to share the road with these:
- When you are approaching a slow-moving vehicle, there is no need to honk. Only pass when you are not in a no-passing zone. Also, only pass when it is safe to do so.
- Always be patient with these vehicles and never attempt to push them to the side. Likewise, drivers of slow-moving vehicles should move to the side if they are causing traffic.
How to Share the Road with Funeral Processions
If you come across a funeral procession, here’s what to do:
- To know if a vehicle is part of a funeral procession, check if its headlights and hazard warning signals are turned on.
- These vehicles are still required to follow traffic signals. However, if the lead vehicle is allowed by a police officer to cross the intersection, all vehicles part of the procession can follow suit.
- A vehicle going in the opposite direction to the funeral procession may yield to vehicles that are part of the procession.
- Never attempt to pass the funeral procession except when two or more lanes are moving in the same direction.
- Do not drive in between vehicles that are part of the funeral procession.
How to Share the Road with Trucks
Driving alongside trucks is more challenging because large vehicles have blind spots.
So to keep safe, follow these tips:
- To stay visible, do not be directly in front, at the back, or on the side of trucks. Always stay at the side and somewhat behind for them to see you on the side mirrors. If in front, always be a bit ahead.
- Always increase your following distance to give enough space for when a truck stops or brakes.
- If you need to pass a large truck, stay at the back and signal longer. Pass quickly only when it is safe to do so.
- Do not cut a truck’s lane. Remember, it is harder for these large vehicles to brake.
- Allow a truck to make a turn. Large trucks need to occupy several lanes to make a turn. If you see one turning, do not try to squeeze in.
How to Share the Road with Recreational Vehicles
Recreational vehicles include motor homes, campers, and travel trailers.
If you encounter these on the North Carolina roadways, here’s what to do:
- Like large vehicles, recreational vehicles take a longer time to stop and accelerate. Keep a safe distance from them.
- Make yourself visible by not staying directly at the back or beside these vehicles. Remember that the closer you are to them, the higher the chances that the driver won’t see you.
How to Share the Road with Motorcycles and Mopeds
Like pedestrians, motorcycle and moped riders are not as protected as those inside a vehicle.
Because of this, you have to take caution when driving alongside motorcycles and mopeds. Here are some tips:
- Give them the right of way when they are turning.
- Give them the full width of the lane. Motorcycles and mopeds have the same rights as any other vehicle on the road.
- If you need to pass, make sure to occupy another lane. Do not pass and push them out of their current lane.
- Be alert when these vehicles lose their balance. Decrease speed and pass them slowly.
- Mopeds and motorcycles are urged not to squeeze in between vehicles nor share the lane with other two- or three-wheeled vehicles.
And that was the North Carolina rules of the road.
Now, when you encounter pedestrians, school buses, large trucks, farm equipment, etc., you know what to do.
It’s a good idea to practice these road rules on how to share the road. This way, you’ll be a safe and responsible driver.