Share the Road is a highway safety program of the American Trucking Associations (ATA). Million-mile accident free professional truck drivers deliver specific life-saving safety tips to the public, the media, and our public officials through television, radio, the web and in print. News conferences are held where cars and trucks are set up in simulated highway lanes that show the common ways in which accidents happen out on the road. The program's goal is to reach as many people as possible and change driving behavior so that we can save lives.
Media and community events are held across the country, including state capitols, motorcycle and RV events, auto shows, at truck driving championships, high schools and middle schools, and in congested cities. The Share the Road tractor-trailer serves as the centerpiece for all safety and media events, and is certainly an attraction while traveling the highways. Mack Trucks generously provides a dedicated Mack Anthem to the Share the Road program. The Share the Road program works with various highway safety partners, the state trucking associations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and industry partners.
With the generous sponsorship from Mack Trucks and supporters, ATA is able to continue this highly effective highway safety program.
EVP of Industry Affairs and Senior Advisor to the President and CEO
Blind Spot Information
All vehicles traveling on the road have blind spots where other vehicles disappear from view. In tractor trailers and other large vehicles these blind spots can be surprisingly big. There are blind spots on all sides of a large truck where other vehicles can disappear from the view of the driver. If a professional truck driver has to make a sudden maneuver on the road, such as a quick lane change to avoid debris, crashes can occur if they don’t know you’re there.
Here’s what to do to avoid a truck’s blind spots:
- Don’t linger along side a truck. If you find yourself along side a truck either move on past or back off so that the driver can see you. Look for the driver’s face in their mirror. That will tell you if you are visible to that driver or not.
- If possible pass on the left where the blind spot is smaller. On the right the blind spot runs the length of the truck and extends out 3 lanes.
- When traveling behind a truck stay back so that the driver knows you’re there.
More Safety Driving Tips
When following behind a truck leave yourself 20 to 25 car lengths behind it. This may seem like a long distance but because large trucks obscure visibility far more than smaller vehicles that much room is needed so that you have enough time to react if road conditions suddenly change. A good rule of thumb to ensure that you’ve left yourself enough room is to look for the truck’s side mirrors. If you can see them then you are in a good place
Some of the things that can happen that require that much space behind a truck are this:
- Debris in the road like lumber or a ladder might have no impact on a large truck. If that debris was suddenly in front of you because the truck drove over it and you were following too closely it could have a devastating impact.
- On congested roadways traffic often slows down suddenly. If you are traveling too closely behind a truck you cannot see the slow down coming.
- At highway speeds everything happens very fast. Accidents up ahead or right in front of a truck require fast reactions. Leaving enough space in front of you will allow for that response.
Passing a Truck
When passing a truck and moving back into its lane make sure you can see the truck’s headlights in your rear view mirror before you cut back in. That allows the truck enough space to slow down or stop if something happens up ahead.
A fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and take the length of a football field to stop. Most passenger cars weigh around 3,000 pounds and have a much shorter stopping distance. Just because you can stop in time doesn’t mean that the truck behind you can if you’ve cut too close in front of it. Even if the driver makes a monumental effort they may not be able to stop if you haven’t left them enough room.
You may wonder why trucks leave space in front of them in heavy traffic. It’s so they have enough stopping distance. Don’t fill in that space and take up that safety buffer that the driver is trying to maintain.
Many large trucks are now equipped with very sophisticated communications equipment that allows for the driver to receive instructions and for the truck to report back to the terminal on an array of technical aspects of the truck and its driver. This equipment makes driving safer and delivering goods more efficient.
Many passenger vehicles now come equipped with the latest technical devices to help people navigate, communicate and be entertained while they drive. It’s important that all communications devices add to safety rather than distract from it.
Professional truck drivers recognize the enormous responsibility that they have driving such large vehicles on the roadway. There are some hard and fast rules in the trucking industry for using communications technology in the truck’s cab – stay focused on the main job of driving and communicate at stops. The Share the Road drivers recommend the same to all drivers. Use technology wisely and don’t be used by it.
The Share the Road Program’s goal is to reach Americans of all ages with life-saving information on how to safely share the road with large commercial vehicles.
Audiences the Share the Road Program has reached:
- Drivers Education Classes
- Community Events
- State Fairs
- Motorcycle Rallies
- RV Clubs
- Auto Shows
- State Capitols
- Boy Scouts
- Seniors Events and many more…
We are always open to reaching new groups with our safety message. Please contact us if you have an idea for an event. We can send a professional truck driver, with over a million miles of accident-free driving experience, to speak to your group about blind spots, safe following distances, merging, the importance of safety belts, distracted driving and safe driving behaviors.
If you have the space available, we can also set-up a full blind spot demonstration where attendees can climb into the cab of the Share the Road tractor-trailer and experience first-hand what professional truck drivers can and can’t see on our nation’s highways.
Guidelines for requesting a Share the Road event:
If the request is coming from within the trucking industry, the company must be an ATA member. We also accept requests from schools, community groups, motorcycle and RV clubs, and other organizations.
Please submit your request to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 5 weeks prior to the date of the event. In your email, please include the date, time, address and brief description of the event, as well as the expected number of participants. There is a standard minimum of 50 people for all requests.