When I Exit an Uncontrolled Access Highway

Last Edited: November 9, 2016 // by TruckerScape, Inc.

Minor and back highways (with one lane in each direction, typically with no median separating the lanes and with surface street and/or driveway entries and exits) are often just a means for me to connect from one interstate or major highway to another.  On a few trips they serve as the most direct and cost-effective routes to a pickup or delivery destination.  I don’t drive on two-lane highways, even on national (US-XXX) highways any more than necessary and/or practical.

I usually exit these highways to an interstate or other major highway.  Occasionally I have to exit them to a surface street or driveway when I am going to deliver or pick up freight at some (usually small) business.  Right turns onto surface streets and driveways may be so tight that I have to swing left into the oncoming traffic lane first to get my trailer past any ditches or other obstacles on the near right corner.  I may turn on my truck’s emergency flashers if I have to slow down appreciably and wait for a break in oncoming traffic.  I may even have to come to a complete stop for a wide right turn, and even more likely for a left turn.

If I have to back off one of these highways to a dock, I may or may not have spotting help (one or more customer employees holding up traffic and directing me).  I may also have spotting help to re-enter the highway.  There’s a good chance that I will have to use the oncoming traffic lane to execute the back and return to the highway.  My truck’s emergency flashers will be on during these maneuvers.

As an over the road (OTR) driver, I am unfamiliar with most customer locations along minor and back highways and surface streets.  Many trips to them are one time only (OTO), and I may have to slow down to find a turn or a dock, again using my truck’s flashers.  If you see my truck ahead of you with emergency flashers on and traveling slower than surrounding traffic or stopped, I hope you will stay patient and drive on by as soon as it is practical, safe and lawful to do so.

Occasionally I have to exit one minor or back highway to take another one.  This typically happens at an intersection controlled with a traffic light or stop sign(s), so usually I don’t have to wait for a break in traffic on the destination highway.  However, a right turn may require swinging wide close to, or into the opposing lane of the destination highway.  If stopped vehicles on the destination highway prevent a right turn, I may have to wait for them to clear.  While there is generally more room to execute a left turn, a vehicle stopped in the opposing lane may still impede or prevent it.  Any extra clearance you can provide on tight right and left turns will be appreciated.

Whenever changing highways or exiting them for pickups and deliveries, I make sure to signal early, slow down as necessary well before the intersection and try to verify that other vehicles see me.  You can help keep both of us safe by staying alert for my signals and actions if you’re behind my truck or approaching it from the opposite direction.

Takeaways

On minor and back highways (with one lane in each direction, typically with no median separating the lanes and with surface street and/or driveway entries and exits), stay alert for signals and actions of truck drivers.

When you see a truck ahead of you with its emergency flashers on and traveling slower than surrounding traffic or stopped, drive on by as soon as it practical, safe and lawful to do so.

Give trucks room for turns and backs off minor and back highways.

At intersections, give trucks room for wide turns whenever possible.

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