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What’s in your Safety Zone, Road Warrior?

- May 30, 2018 by Guest Bloggers (View all posts by Guest)

“Well, there goes my great start to the day!” 

Those my exact words when the semi-truck driving in front of me had a tire blowout. I’m pretty sure the driver of the semi had similar sentiments.

When semi truck’s inner, rear driver’s side tire blew, it sounded like a shotgun was fired.  I was about 150 feet behind the truck, in the left hand lane, with no other cars in front of me.

I was stunned and must have scared the driver, too. He applied the brakes too quickly and swerved into the left hand lane slightly.

As the tire fragments flew around me, I looked in the rear view mirror to see what my options were. Slamming on the brakes was not an option as I had a car closely following me. I chose to let off the accelerator and try to avoid the large pieces of tire coming at my windshield.

Luckily, I was able to successfully avoid the tire pieces and escape without damage.

This situation could have ended badly if I had been driving closer to the semi-truck or even next to it.  I was thankful that I had maintained enough of a safety zone to respond quickly to the incident in front of me, but I have to admit that I had to pull off the highway at the next exit to collect my thoughts as the adrenaline was definitely flowing.

What is a safety zone?

It’s the room you keep between yourself and every other car on the road. Many accidents have been prevented because drivers keep enough space between their car and all of the other cars on the road to allow themselves some reaction time.

In heavy traffic, this can be hard to do, but its important for your safety.  I often talk to truck drivers who tell me that they try to keep a safety zone in front of their vehicle, but when they leave room, a passenger vehicle always takes the spot.  If everyone understood the practical aspects of defensive driving, we would reduce roadway accident significantly.

I make a conscious effort to stay out of a vehicle’s safety zone and try to keep mine clear as well. Next time, you are riding with a family member or friend, take minute to pass along this safety advice, the more people we can train, the safer the roads will be.  There is no way of knowing what is going to happen on the road and you have to leave yourself some options.



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