What do you know about the driver next to you?
While you may be alone in your car, you’re never alone on the road. Motorists share the road with a wide array of vehicles -- cars, bicycles, vans, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, SUVs, pickup trucks, and buses. Motorists also share the road with a legion of fellow travelers who have a range of driving skills, experiences, personalities, habits and idiosyncrasies.
Regardless of their mode of transportation on any given day ... some forgot their glasses and can’t see well, others had six or seven beers at the bar and are riding under the influence, others were up studying all night before they got behind the wheel.
You just never know the circumstances. Maybe the man next to you just lost his job this evening, and the woman in front of you just fought with her husband. The teen driver in the car on your right has been driving for only two weeks, while the 85-year-old man behind you has been driving for 70 years.
All of these people are out on the road whether they’re traveling on four wheels or 16, two wheels or two feet. Their ability to walk, bike, ride or drive safely is affected by numerous factors, physical and emotional. Understanding the unique limitations and challenges for the various road users we encounter every day enables us to be more respectful and considerate of our roadway companions.
A closer look at some of your roadway companions
Pedestrians - Pedestrians are the highway users most at risk in traffic. While in most cases, the pedestrian is found to be at fault, there is an important responsibility for drivers to be vigilant particularly in residential or commercial areas where there is more pedestrian activity.
Bicyclists – Like pedestrians, these roadway users are often difficult to notice in traffic, and have little protection from a traffic crash. When driving a car, be sure to check “blind spots” before you parallel park, or open a driver’s side door, or a curb. Bicyclists must obey the rules of the road, just as vehicle drivers do.
Motorcyclists - Motorcycles are the smallest motorized vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, they provide virtually no protection in a crash, giving them a great element of risk. Motorcyclists are about 37 times as likely as car occupants to die in a crash and 8 times as likely to be injured. Safe riding takes balance, coordination and good judgment.
Truck drivers - In more than 60 percent of all fatal crashes involving cars and big trucks, the driver of the car contributed to the cause of the crash. Many of these crashes could be avoided if motorists gave trucks a “wide berth” and knew a trucker driver’s “blind spots.”
Campaign seeks to reduce commuting and work-related traffic crashes