SPEED AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING
Easing up is more than taking your foot off the gas.
We all have a code for the road. The vehicle we choose to drive, the music we listen to — it’s all part of how we get down the road. There’s no code more important than the choices we make behind the wheel. All too often, we’re in a hurry to get where we’re going, and trying to pass slower traffic on the highway or driving too fast for road conditions which can be especially dangerous.
Over the past five years speeding or driving too fast for conditions is a factor in about one-third of fatal crashes in North Dakota each year.
Nearly 200 people have died in speed-related crashes in North Dakota over the past five years.
In 2017, one speed-related crash occurred every 3 hours and 45 minutes in North Dakota.
In 2017, one speed-related motor vehicle fatality occurred every 13 days.
It’s tempting to speed up and squeeze around slower vehicles even when there isn’t adequate room or visibility in the passing lane, but the results can be catastrophic. Unless you know for sure that you can get around safely, take a pass on the pass. Make it part of your code for the road every time you’re at the wheel.
Sharing the road with trucks
It’s important to share the road with other passenger vehicles and trucks hoping to reach their destinations safely. To ensure your safety and the safety of others, follow these rules when driving near trucks, buses, semis or other large vehicles:
Don’t “hang out” beside trucks or buses
Large vehicles have extensive blind spots on both sides. If you can’t see the driver’s face in his side-view mirror, he can’t see you — which may result in a collision if he moves into your lane.
Trucks and buses have huge “no-zones” directly behind them. The truck or bus driver can’t see your vehicle in that spot, and you can’t see what’s going on ahead of you. If the truck or bus driver brakes suddenly, you’ll have no place to go. Leave extra room in front of your vehicle.
Stay out of the “no-zone”
Pay close attention
Never cross behind a truck that’s backing up. Truck drivers don’t have a rear-view mirror and therefore may not see you behind them.
Avoid the “squeeze play”
Truck and bus drivers sometimes need to swing wide to the left to safely make a right turn. They can’t see vehicles squeezing in between them and the curb. Watch for their turn signals and give them room to turn.
Pass safely, or not at all
Don’t cut in to the right lane immediately after passing. Truck and bus drivers need twice the time and space to stop as smaller passenger vehicles. When changing lanes in front of a truck,
allow one vehicle length for every 10 mph you are traveling (70 mph = 7 car lengths). Make sure the entire front of the truck or bus is visible in your rear-view mirror before moving to the right, and don’t slow down. Give them room.
- Wind Gusts – Trucks have a huge amount of surface area, creating a sail-like effect which may cause unexpected drifts into your lane.
- Turbulence – Trucks can create heavy air turbulence, especially near underpasses and shelterbelts. The turbulence can affect your ability to control your vehicle. Keep both hands on the wheel.
- Snow Cloud/Fog and Spray – Trucks can create large snow clouds and lingering snow fog that can temporarily and dramatically reduce
visibility. They can also spray slush, dirt, or mud on your windshield, obstructing your view.
- Acceleration and Stopping – Trucks take longer to stop and regain their speed. Plan and adjust accordingly.
Speeding endangers everyone on the road
Speeding endangers the driver and all others on the road and around them. With the frustrations of modern life, it’s easy to get in a hurry, but speed limits are there to protect you and others on the road. Speeding isn’t just about obeying the signs. During bad weather, construction season, or at night, if you’re driving too fast for road conditions, speed will affect your safety and the safety of others around you.
Speed increases crash severity
The possibility of a collision increases when speeding because the vehicle travels further before stopping. Speed also contributes to deadly, run-off-the-road crashes. NDDOT’s speed management program provides resources to law enforcement to reduce speed-related motor vehicle crashes that result in injury and death.
What can you do?
- Obey speed limits and drive according to conditions – this may mean driving below the posted speed limit depending on the road conditions.
- Think ahead. The stopping distance at 20 mph is about 60 feet. At 65 mph, you may travel 450 feet or more before stopping.
- Be a good example. An aggressive driver is not a safe driver. An impatient driver is not a safe driver.
- Know the road conditions and adjust your speed accordingly
Always remember the Code for the Road. Follow the traffic laws, ease up and wear your seat belt all the time.
This ad was created and placed through a partnership with the NDDOT, NDHP, ND Petroleum Association and the NDMCA.