Space is your room to live in.
That space should increase if we are lightly loaded or empty. If you are bobtailing, that distance should be ever greater. So the next time you are following another vehicle check and see just how many seconds tick off between you and the vehicle in front. Then adjust to ensure you are going to be able to stop if you need too.
You might find that the space around your vehicle has become crowded. What do I do now? It is as simple as slowing down 2-3mph from what the traffic is doing. It will create a natural barrier around you. It will also allow traffic to move around you.
When you stop behind a vehicle, stop far enough behind that you can see all their rear tires touching the ground. That way it will give you to maneuver around the vehicle and also provide a cushion should you get pushed into them. This works for all vehicles.
The space beside and behind you are the most difficult to maintain. We have all had some vehicle following us too close. It is easy to be rear ended if the person following you doesn’t maintain a proper distance. Tapping your brakes might help or turning on your lights in the daytime is another idea. Turning on your 4-way flashers might also alert that driver to back off. The other space that can be maintained fairly easily is the space above your truck. Loaded or empty always expect to be 13’ 6” high. If you are hauling an open deck trailer, you might even be taller than that. Always know your height so you don’t put your truck or load into danger. There are plenty of low bridges and overpasses. Look for the yellow signs and even flashing lights in some cases and don’t try to squeeze your vehicle through. If we need to get a permit, then we will do that to help keep you safe.
Use your windshield as a picture frame and see if your picture looks far away or is too close. Remember you control that picture. Make sure you are keeping your focus and not running into other vehicles or objects.
Dave Zerbe, Safety Director