Researchers found that among the 18,919 truck crashes (Kansas from 20004 to 2008), 13,260 - or 73% had contributory causes related to the truck driver. Failing to give enough time and attention to the task being completed was the biggest contributor to truck driver-related crashes. Maneuvers such as switching lanes, passing another vehicle, etc., combined with, speeding, failing to yield the right of way, improper lane changes and following another vehicle too closely made up the top five contributors.
Lane Changes & Passing Lane departure and passing another vehicle is a voluntary maneuver on the driver’s part. The driver should never pass other traffic unless there is a distinct safety advantage in doing so, particularly on two-lane, undivided highways. Reaching one’s destination a few minutes earlier does not constitute a safety advantage because the risk involved in the passing maneuver far outweighs saving travel time. Drivers must also yield to vehicles passing them by slowing down or moving to the right when possible.
Before attempting to change lanes or passing other vehicles, ask yourself, "Is it necessary?" Most cars are only traveling a short distance and the time that is lost by following them is minimal. Keep in mind that it is not legal to speed while passing, and if there is only a 5 mile speed difference between your vehicle and the one ahead, you will be overtaking it at a speed of 7 feet per second. By the time that you account for your vehicle length, the length of the vehicle that you are passing, and the space cushion that you must leave, you may be in the passing lane for as much as 30 seconds or more. On a 55 mph roadway during the 30 seconds, you will travel almost a half of a mile in the oncoming traffic lane. Often, there is not enough sight distance to safely pass.
If you must pass, alert the other driver before making the attempt. This will prevent him from moving left during your pass. Use your lights (if there is not traffic in the oncoming lange) or city horn to alert him and watch for his eyes to make contact through his mirror. All collisions involved in lane changes and passing are PREVENTABLE.
Speed and Space Management Perhaps the most common violation, law enforcement agencies receive numerous calls every day from citizens complaining about trucks speeding through residential streets, speeding on the open road, and not reducing speed at school crossings, blind intersections, business districts, and railroad grade crossings.
While State speed limits generally apply to both commercial and non-commercial vehicles, some States restrict large trucks, certain types of buses, vehicles towing trailers, and trucks transporting hazardous materials. All States have statutes that address reducing speed when specific special conditions are present, such as at school zones, adverse weather conditions, steep down-grades, sharp curves, or other situations where traveling at the posted speed limit becomes unsafe and threatens the safety of others. As speed increases, drivers have less time to adjust to the actions of others. Stopping distances increase exponentially, and collision severity increases. Studies by the University of Washington indicate that drivers who routinely speed are as much as 5 times as likely to be involved in collisions as drivers who obey the speed limit. No load or delivery schedule is worth risking the lives of others by speeding. Collisions that result from speeding are PREVENTABLE.