I recently wrote in "A Safe Exit" about using the passenger door to exit the cab in case of a breakdown, when possible. As drivers, we can also do our part to help those unfortunate enough to be broken down on the side of the road.

First off, we can move over when safe to do so. A few years ago, I was broken down on the side of the road and was amazed, and quite frankly a little scared, by the number of drivers that flew past me without moving over. Sometimes it even felt like a game of trying to see how close they could get to my truck without hitting it. I know it is not always safe to change lanes, but there were some who had two empty lanes to the left of them and just decided not to move over. I wish I could say they were all four-wheelers, but the unfortunate truth is I can't.

So, what should you do when you can’t move over? Slow down. While it is not always safe to move over, and you shouldn't force your way into the left lane, it is usually safe to slow down, even if it is only to the minimum speed limit. I try to live by the rule "Do Unto Others" and I really didn't like seeing those trucks pass me that close and that fast. It is hazardous and potentially life-threatening. You never know when someone might accidentally get out of that driver's side door or come out from between the trailer and tractor.

Scott's Law, the "Move Over" law, mandates that when approaching any police or other emergency vehicles stopped along the road you must proceed with caution. Change lanes if possible and reduce your speed (see local and state laws for more details). In my opinion, we should be doing this for all vehicles. The good news is, the vast majority of us are. For those that do, thank you for keeping us all safer out there. For those that maybe haven't thought about it, please do. The person on the side of the road will thank you.

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Clark W Reed

Clark Reed of Roscoe, Illinois is an OTR company driver and trainer for Nussbaum Transportation based out of Hudson, Illinois. He has been driving since 2005 and has driven van, reefer, and tanker. He currently hauls dry van to all lower 48 states. Clark is passionate about MPGs and how driver habits influence them. The lifetime average of his 2018 Cascadia is 9.75 mpg, with eyes on 10. Clark, along with Henry Albert, was one of the seven drivers in 2017's "Run on Less" by NACFE, a road show, demonstrating what fuel efficiency can be obtained with existing technologies.

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My father was a driver for Red Ball Movers in the 50s and he taught me to move over and give the vehicle on the shoulder some more room when I was younger by example. He reminded me of this in 1966, when I first got my drivers license at the age of 15 1/2. In those days the roads were narrower and you needed to move over to be safe. 53 years later with 46 years as a tractor trailer driver I still move over for any vehicle on the shoulder. I am also amazed at the number of steering wheel holders who don't move over for anybody for any reason, also dumfounded by the number of people who fling open their doors without looking in the left side mirror prior to opening it, POLICE officers are real bad doing this.

May 26, 2019 11:09:22 AM