There are certain events that should draw the close attention of personal vehicle and truck drivers as they travel on a highway, either on the open road (in sparse traffic, usually in rural areas) or in heavier traffic. One of these is when a truck enters a highway in their vicinity. Another is when a truck exits in front of them. The highway may be a controlled access highway (an interstate, city freeway or other major highway, typically with two or more lanes in each direction and entry and exit restricted to specific interchanges). Or it could be a minor or back highway with one lane in each direction and open entry from, and exit to surface streets and/or driveways. Trucks’ size obviously helps them stand out in other drivers’ field of vision.
Due to our trucks’ length and slowing/stopping and acceleration limitations, there is always the possibility of contention with other vehicles as we enter from a ramp, a street or driveway or exit onto one of them. Entry and exit contention can be hazardous and drivers have to be ready to avert an accident. Skid marks on major highway surfaces near ramp outlets and entrances and to a lesser extent, on minor highways near street and driveway intersections, attest to the hard braking that occasionally occurs as drivers work to allow trucks to enter and exit.
The tips in this chapter address more handling details on truck exits than corresponding chapters about truck entries and personal vehicle entries and exits. Included are observations on noise constraints, traffic patterns and truck performance limitations affecting drivers’ exit approaches and handling on ramps, streets and driveways. Also included are reminders about using your personal vehicle’s obvious maneuverability advantages when practical, safe and lawful, to help truck drivers comply with and deal with those conditions:
When I Exit a Controlled Access Highway from the Right Lane
When I Exit the Right Lane of a Controlled Access Highway to the Right Lane of Another Controlled Access Highway
When I Exit a Controlled Access City Highway from the Left Lane
When I Exit an Uncontrolled Access Highway
Due to trucks’ size and performance limitations, there is always the possibility of contention with your vehicle when they enter or exit a highway.
When a truck enters or exits your highway in your vicinity, pay close attention and be prepared to adjust and help the driver when practical, safe and lawful to do so.
There are additional handling limitations and other constraints that truck drivers deal with when exiting highways.