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Stay Alert! Tips for Avoiding These 6 Road Hazards

If you drive every day, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered many different road hazards. Some were expected while others made you scratch your head.

Either way, it’s important that you approach these hazards thoughtfully in order to remain safe. The following tips will help you avoid an accident.

Farming Equipment

While driving in the country or in small towns, you may encounter agricultural vehicles such as a tractor or large combine. Make note that many of these vehicles do not have headlights so they may be difficult to see at night.

If you are following a larger farm vehicle, keep a safe distance and remain patient. Most of the time, tractor operators will slowly pull to the side and allow you to pass safely.

You’ll also want to be aware of livestock that may roam the roads on occasion. It’s a good rule-of-thumb to approach farmland slowly.

Bicycles and Motorcycles

Those driving these two-wheeled vehicles have the exact same rights to the road as any other vehicle. The number of people that ride bicycles increases each year, so seeing one isn’t uncommon. Give them plenty of room and stay alert as you pass by parks and neighborhoods.

Looking out for motorcycles is a little trickier. The speeds at which they can travel and accelerate make spotting one very difficult. When switching lanes, always double-check to see whether or not a motorcycle is approaching. Motorcyclists can be quite unpredictable.

Larger Animals

Always take animal crossing signs seriously. Road signs are not placed haphazardly, but rather they are erected at certain spots specifically to serve as a warning. If you encounter a larger animal like a deer, moose, or even a bear, do not swerve. This will only confuse the animal.

The best course of action is to brake and let the animal pass. Maintaining the posted speed limit will allow you to hit your brakes more easily.

18-Wheelers and Tractor-Trailers

Always proceed with caution when passing or following large tractor-trailers. If a wreck occurs, your smaller vehicle will take the brunt of the damage regardless of who was at fault. Sometimes the drivers of these large vehicles think they are the only ones on the road.

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about that other than approach very carefully.

The blind spot of an 18-wheeler is very broad. Following too closely or passing them while hugging the right side of the lane will make your vehicle invisible. Remember, if you can’t see the driver in his side mirror he certainly can’t see you. Create as much space as possible when passing.

Pedestrians

Approximately 610 pedestrians are killed on highways each year in the United States. Most accidents involving pedestrians occur while they were on the side of the road, crossing a lane of traffic or walking at night. It is very difficult to react to a pedestrian while driving a car.

While driving through highly populated areas, always keep your speed slightly below the posted speed limit and keep your head on a swivel. Pedestrians popping in and out of stores aren’t always mindful of the vehicles on the road. Help them out and stay alert. Your destination is not worth taking a life.

Work Zones

If you’ve ever taken a road trip, chances are you’ve seen quite a few work zones along the highways. Whether it’s construction, landscaping, or road maintenance it’s important that you don’t ignore the signals. Signs and flaggers indicate the beginning of work zones, therefore, these zones are easily spotted.

Turn on your headlights and pay attention to the workers along the side of the road. Keep a safe distance from any construction vehicles as well. Slow down to adhere to the designated work zone speed limit—usually, 10-15 mph slower—in order to ensure everyone’s safety.

Drive With a Purpose

Driving is a privilege that must be taken seriously. Once you get behind the wheel, make sure you are prepared to handle any of the road hazards that you may encounter. Proceed with caution and stay alert from the time you leave your house to when you arrive at your destination.

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