Wouldn’t it be a lot easier if we had the roads to ourselves?
Imagine being able to drive freely without worrying about what other drivers might do.
I don’t have to tell you that’s unrealistic.
Whether you like it or not, you have to share the road with all kinds of vehicles — and people, too.
Okay, maybe you don’t mind other vehicles so much.
But what if you have to share the road with, say, bicycles or trucks?
What do you do then?
Let’s find out in our guide to the Oregon rules of the road – how to share the road.
How to Share the Road with Pedestrians
I don’t know about you, but I never seem to know when a pedestrian is about to cross or let you go first.
As a general rule, you must stop if pedestrians are crossing the road (or are about to cross!).
And yes, even if they don’t cross on the crosswalk.
Here are other rules you need to know:
- Do not honk at pedestrians to hurry them across. Patiently wait for them before going again.
- If you are turning, make sure that the pedestrians are at least six feet from you before you turn. If they are crossing, yield the right-of-way.
- If there’s a vehicle in front of you that’s stopped before a crosswalk, do not pass them because they might be letting pedestrians cross. This is actually illegal in Oregon.
- You are required to stop before the crosswalk when the signal light is red.
- Never stop, park, or block a crosswalk. You don’t want to obstruct crossing pedestrians from other drivers.
- Be alert for blind or deaf people carrying a white cane and/or having a guide dog. If they’re crossing, wait for them to arrive at the sidewalk before passing.
- Be especially careful when you’re at school zones and parks because children might be playing on the sidewalk and cross suddenly.
How to Share the Road with Bicycles
Bicycles can easily be missed if you’re not careful!
Remember that you will have some blindspots — so it’s always best to be alert for bicyclists nearby.
Here are some safety driving rules when sharing the road with bicycles:
- Give space between you and the bicyclist. The latter may have to avoid damp patches, potholes, and litter to keep their balance.
- Make sure that there are no oncoming bicyclists before you make a turn.
- If you need to pass a bicyclist, signal, and pass using the lane beside you. Do not pass on the same lane because this might not give enough space to the bicyclist.
- If you can’t pass safely, be patient and stay behind the bicyclist.
- Do not drive and park on a bike lane. You can only do this if you are turning or entering a driveway.
How to Share the Road with Motorcycles and Mopeds
Just like bicycles, motorcycles, and mopeds can be missed because of their sizes.
From far away, it’s also harder to determine the speed of a motorcycle or moped.
So if you’re driving alongside them, here’s what to remember:
- Keep a safe distance between you and the motorcycle/moped.
- Mopeds and motorcycles are treated as vehicles and they have the same rights and responsibilities on the road.
- Give the full space of a lane to motorcycles and mopeds. It’s illegal to share a lane with a motorcycle or moped.
- Unlike cars, motorcycles and mopeds do not automatically cancel the turn lights after making a turn. Be alert if the motorcyclist has just missed turning off the signal or is about to make a turn.
How to Share the Road with Large Vehicles
If you have blindspots for motorcyclists and bicyclists, large vehicles have blindspots for you.
Being visible to them is crucial to avoid getting into an accident.
These are some safe driving tips to follow:
- A truck, commercial bus, or recreational vehicle takes longer to stop compared to regular vehicles. Always have this in mind when driving alongside them.
- Large vehicles’ blind spots are right in front, directly at the back, or by the side of the driver and front-seat passenger. Avoid staying in these areas.
- If you need to pass a large vehicle, turn on your signal earlier so you can give time for the truck driver to see you. To pass, use the passing lane beside you and only go back to your lane when there are a few feet between you and the truck.
- If a truck is making a turn, do not cut in between them and the turn. Remember, trucks often need two lanes to make a turn. Plus, they might not see you there.
How to Share the Road with Pilot Vehicles
Pilot vehicles are marked vehicles that lead or follow trucks or other vehicles carrying a large load.
Here are the Oregon rules for driving with these types of vehicles:
- When there’s a pilot vehicle, do not cut them and stay in between them and the vehicle they’re leading/following.
- Be cautious of pilot vehicles and the vehicles they go with.
How to Share the Road with School Buses
You can’t miss school buses with their bright yellow color.
Now, if a school bus starts to flash red and amber lights, that means they are about to make a stop.
When stopped, the school bus driver will put out a stop sign.
If you encounter a school bus with its lights on or a stop sign shown, here’s what you should do:
- Prepare to stop. You are required to stop right behind the school bus if you’re moving in the same direction. If you’re coming the other way, you have to stop before reaching the school bus.
- If you are on a divided highway and you’re driving opposite the school bus, you don’t have to stop.
How to Share the Road with Other Vehicles
There are other types of vehicles you might see on the road.
So depending on the situation, here’s what to do:
- Slow-moving vehicles – slow down and only pass when it is safe to do so. Do not honk if it’s an animal-drawn vehicle.
- Funeral processions – these vehicles may enter the intersection without having to obey traffic control devices. Do not cut vehicles in procession and do not pretend to join these vehicles.
- Emergency vehicles – yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles (ambulances, fire trucks, police vehicles), especially when their light or siren is turned on. Drive to the right side of the road and do not block their way.
- Stopped vehicles – move to two or more lanes in between you and the stopped vehicle. If there are no other lanes, decrease speed by at least 5 mph under the posted speed limit and carefully pass.
When driving alongside other vehicles, it’s important to choose safety.
Avoid speeding up when passing and always give ample space between you and other vehicles.
If there are pedestrians, be more patient and yield the right-of-way.
If you follow these Oregon rules of the road, you’ll be a better and safer driver…
And you’ll avoid accidents and traffic tickets, too.