When You Enter an Uncontrolled Access Highway

Last Edited: November 13, 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 other 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.

From my right and even from my left, personal vehicle drivers often enter these highways in my lane in front of my truck without leaving an adequate lead threshold, forcing me to slow down.  Perhaps they misjudge the speed of my truck, similar to how people purportedly misjudge the speed of another large object, a train.  Or perhaps they simply think that trucks drivers are safer bets to cut in front of than personal vehicle drivers.  So far I haven’t had to brake hard for any of these drivers and haven’t honked my horn at anyone, but some of their actions have been annoying.  Remember, patience is key–you can always wait until my truck and other vehicles pass by if you don’t feel comfortable with your traffic opening.

A few drivers have squeezed onto minor highways in the opposite direction of my travel as I approached them.  If you enter the opposing lane from my right, you have to look left to check my truck’s approach in the near lane and also clear traffic coming from your right in the far lane (the lane you want to travel in).  Hopefully you will be careful about rushing out in front of my truck in order to catch a traffic opening in the opposite direction.

If you enter the opposing lane from my left, you have to look left to check for a break in oncoming traffic in the near lane (the lane you want to travel in).  Then you should check my truck’s approach and ideally make your right turn well before I reach you or wait until I’ve passed by.  You keep both of us safe in case you swing wide and any part of your vehicle comes close to the center line or worse, encroaches into the far lane (my lane) before you steer back into the near lane (the lane you will travel in).  If you’re towing a trailer, you may have to swing wide into the opposing (my lane) just to make sure your trailer doesn’t off-track into some object on your near right corner such as a sign, ditch or curb.

Remember, your vehicle must head directly towards the far lane (my lane) before it swings around to your right into the near lane (the lane you want to travel in).  If for some reason, such as slick road conditions, you can’t keep your vehicle out of the far lane (my lane), you risk a collision with my truck as it passes by.  Personally, I avoid entering a narrow highway in my own personal vehicle as an oncoming vehicle passes by.  I also avoid turning into the right lane (near lane) of a multi-lane highway or street as a vehicle going in my direction in the lane next to the right lane passes by, just in case the other driver wavers or begins to move into my lane at that instant.

In my truck, I try to watch for you entering from right or left into my lane or the opposing lane, and prepare to slow down for you if necessary.  But you can help keep yourself and me safe and also conserve truck fuel by exercising good judgement when entering minor and back highways.

Takeaways

When entering 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 patient and wait for a safe traffic opening.

When entering minor and back highways in a truck’s direction of travel, try not to force the driver to slow down.

Before entering minor and back highways in the direction opposite to an approaching truck’s direction of travel, consider letting the truck pass by first.

Before entering minor and back highways when towing a trailer, wait for a large enough break in both lanes of traffic to permit a wide entry turn.

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