New to driving in Oklahoma?
If you are, then you’ve probably felt anxious about getting beside a truck, a motorcycle, or a train.
What do you do when you’re in that position?
How do you drive safely around these vehicles?
We’re going to go over the Oklahoma rules of the road on how to share it with:
- Slow-moving vehicles
With this, you’ll know what to do and how to keep safe.
Ready to start?
How to Share the Road with Pedestrians
One of the first things you need to learn is to drive alongside pedestrians.
In Oklahoma, pedestrians are people who are walking, roller skating, or riding a skateboard. People who are in wheelchairs and walkers are also considered pedestrians.
As a general rule, pedestrians on a crosswalk have the right-of-way even if the crosswalk isn’t marked.
Here are other things you need to know:
- Be alert for people on the sidewalk. You never know when they will cross the street.
- A blind person will usually have a guide dog or a white or chrome cane. If you see them crossing, even when the pedestrian light is on red, yield to them. Only pass if they have already reached the sidewalk on the other side.
- Be especially careful and alert when you’re in school zones. Children might cross at any time. Some might even end up on the road when they’re playing.
- To make stopping or yielding to pedestrians easier, follow the speed limits and practice defensive driving. The faster you drive, the harder it is for you to stop.
- Do not honk at pedestrians to rush them to cross.
How to Share the Road with Bicycles
Next up are bicycles.
Unlike pedestrians, bicyclists are treated as vehicles in Oklahoma. This means that they have the same rights and responsibilities as any other vehicle.
As a vehicle driver, you should know that bicycles can easily lose balance over trash, damp roads, potholes, or cracks. So, you should always give bicyclists space so they can maneuver safely.
Here are other tips on how to drive safely alongside bicyclists:
- Leave a safe distance between you and the bicyclist. This space also allows you to react in time in case they trip or fall.
- When overtaking a bicyclist, leave at least three (3) feet between you and them. Maintain this distance until you’ve fully overtaken them.
- Be alert for hand signals showing that they are turning or stopping.
- If you’re on a two-lane road, avoid passing and overtaking a bicyclist, especially when there is another vehicle on the opposite side.
- If the street is too narrow, do not attempt to pass. Drive patiently behind the bicyclist. If you need to pass, honk briefly so they know what you plan to do.
- Do not blast your horn at a bicyclist. This may startle or annoy them.
- If you’re making a turn, check if there are bicyclists on your side. Make the turn when it is safe to do so.
There are cases when bicyclists can use the full lane:
- They are preparing to turn left.
- They are overtaking a vehicle.
- There are unsafe conditions on the roadway or the side of the road.
- The lane is too narrow.
- A red flag signifies that the driver has impaired hearing. If this is the case, allow them to take the full lane.
How to Share the Road with Motorcycles
Motorcycles aren’t as unstable as bicycles — but since these vehicles only have two wheels, they’re not as sturdy as four-wheeled ones.
The key to driving alongside motorcycles is to make sure that you see them. A lot of accidents happen because the driver did not see an oncoming motorcycle.
Follow these tips to avoid hitting any motorcycle:
- Look at the side of the road or behind you. Check for motorcycles that may be attempting to pass you.
- Pass as if you are passing a car. This means that you have to leave space for them and maintain a good distance between you before going back to your lane.
- Be aware of your blind spots, which are the areas not seen by your side mirror. Look at these areas yourself before making a turn or passing.
- Check the flashing lights of the motorcycle. Some motorcyclists tend to forget to turn off their flashing lights after turning and some are actually turning.
How to Share the Road with Trucks
And now, for larger vehicles.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a new or experienced driver — driving alongside trucks can be just as dangerous if you don’t know what to do.
Here are some safety reminders when sharing the road with trucks:
- Take note of a truck’s blind spots: right beside the driver and passenger seat, directly behind, and directly in front. Always stay in an area where they can see you, which is the lane beside them but you must be farther back.
- As much as possible, avoid driving alongside a truck for a long time.
- If you’re at the back of a truck, leave a large following distance. Trucks take longer to fully stop. The additional space will help you stay visible and have enough space to react.
- On rainy conditions, increase your following distance or move to the farthest lane from the truck to avoid water splashes hitting your vehicle. Water or mud might blur your windows and windshield.
- If you have to pass a truck, always check before moving to the passing lane. To tell the driver you’re passing, blink your headlights and make sure that they see this. In an ideal situation, the driver will move to the far side of the lane.
- Avoid slowing down when passing a truck. If you slow down, the truck driver will have to suddenly brake and this might cause an accident.
- If a truck on your left is planning to turn right, leave your lane or move back to give them space. Trucks take up a larger space when turning because of their size.
How to Share the Road with Trains
While you’re not actually sharing the road with trains, you might still encounter them.
Railroads are marked with a railroad warning sign to signal that you have to slow down and stop when a train is passing. During these scenarios, the cars are always required to stop.
- If you’re passing through a railroad, make sure that you listen if a train is approaching. If you see a train, do not attempt to pass. Trains are faster than you think and you might be caught on the railroad.
- Pass only when the train has fully passed. Check first if there is a second train on the other side.
- If your vehicle gets stuck and the railroad warning signs start flashing red lights, leave it immediately. You have about 20 seconds before a train comes.
- You are required by law to stop within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail.
- Do not drive around railroad gates. They exist for a reason.
- In the absence of railroad gates, listen closely for a nearby train.
How to Share the Road with Slow-Moving Vehicles
Slow-moving vehicles have an orange-and-red triangular sign found at the rear of the vehicle. These vehicles cannot drive above 25 mph. These can be farm equipment vehicles, animal-drawn vehicles, or construction equipment.
When you see a slow-moving vehicle, give them space and signal to them that you will be passing. Avoid honking, especially for animal-drawn vehicles.
And there you have it — the Oklahoma rules of the road.
If you’ll notice, some tips are common-sense. Unfortunately, these are the same tips that drivers forget when driving alongside different types of vehicles.
So do your best to remember to drive defensively and be alert on the road, especially for these that we mentioned here.
Always drive safely!