Each day, drivers have to share the road with commercial traffic. The Boonville area sees a tremendous amount of commercial traffic on I-70, state and even county roads. While commercial and personal vehicles share the road with ease, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Boonville Police Department urge motorist to be careful and understand restrictions and blind spots that these commercial vehicles have.

Next week, state law enforcement agencies will be out making sure that individuals are driving responsibly around large vehicles, such as semis or trailers.

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, 20 percent of all traffic on Missouri’s interstates is commercial traffic.

“When crashes involving tractor trailers occur, the disproportionate size of a truck versus a car means those crashes can often involve serious injuries or worse. There’s no room for taking chances around big trucks – they require extra room. Human error accounts for over 90 percent of traffic crashes,” according to a release from MoDOT. “Please pay attention - buckle up and put your phone down. There were 132 people killed and 4,034 injured in Missouri traffic crashes involving a CMV in 2016.”

While the BPD will not be participating in next week’s program, which is also taking effect nationwide, they echo MoDOT’s call for be cautious around these vehicles on the roadways.   Below are simple ways to avoid an accident and to stay safe when dealing with large vehicles.

Simple Rules

Don’t cut off large trucks or buses when passing. Make sure you can see the top of the truck or bus in your rearview mirror before moving back into your original lane.

Stay out of the “No Zone.” Big trucks have large blind spots on either side and up to 200 feet behind a vehicle. Pass only on the left side.

Watch your following distance. Keep a 20-25 car length distance around trucks.  Can you see the driver in the truck’s side mirrors? If not, the driver cannot see you.

Be Patient

Trucks and buses have operating restrictions, and sometimes use technology like speed limiters.

Honking, driving aggressively, or weaving through traffic won’t make the trip faster, but can cause dangerous distractions and crashes.

Buckle Up

Wearing your seat belt is one of the most important things that you and your passengers can do to save your lives. A seat belt may keep you in your seat and help you maintain control of your vehicle. The safest place for kids is in the back seat, buckled up or in a car seat. Be safe and always buckle up!

Stay Focused

If you need to attend to a text, a call, GPS, or an app, get off the road and stop driving. Driving distracted can be as dangerous as driving impaired. Even eating while driving or adjusting your radio can take your eyes off the road long enough for a crash to occur.

Don’t underestimate the speed (or overestimate the distance) of a truck or bus particularly when making turns, merging  or changing lanes.

Don’t Drive Fatigued

Take regular breaks, get another driver to relieve you, or get off the road and find a safe place to rest.

Never Drive Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

Alcohol and other drugs impair both judgement and reaction time. There is no safe limit for drinking before driving.

Many prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs cause dizziness or sleepiness, and can slow reaction time. If your medication carries a warning, take it seriously – have someone else drive or find another way to your destination.