The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Fleet Safety Tip of the Week: Safely Adjusting to Different Traffic Speeds

August 05, 2013

Here is some driving advice from the South Dakota Department of Public Safety on how to adjust to traffic. You may want to pass this along to your fleet drivers as a friendly reminder.

Keep pace with traffic -- If your vehicle is traveling faster than traffic, you’ll have to keep passing others. Each time you pass someone, the risk for a collision increases. The vehicle you’re passing may change lanes suddenly. Or on a two-lane road, an oncoming vehicle may appear suddenly. Slow down and keep pace with other traffic. Speeding doesn’t save more than a few minutes an hour.

On the other hand, going much slower than other vehicles can be just as bad as speeding. It tends to make vehicles bunch up behind you and causes the other traffic to pass you. If vehicles are lined up behind you, pull over when safe to do so and let them pass. You should either drive faster or consider using a road with slower speeds.

Entering into traffic -- When you merge with traffic, try to enter at the same speed that traffic is moving. High-speed roadways generally have ramps to give you time to build up your speed. Use the ramp to reach the speed of other vehicles before you pull onto the road. Do not drive to the end of the ramp and stop or you will not have enough room to get up to the speed of traffic. Also, drivers behind you will not expect you to stop. If they are watching the traffic on the main road, you may be hit from the rear. If you have to wait for space to enter a roadway, slow down on the ramp so you have some room to speed up before you have to merge.

Leaving traffic -- Keep up with the speed of traffic as long as you’re on the main road. If the road you’re traveling on has exit ramps, don’t slow down until you move onto the exit ramp. When you turn from a high speed, two-lane roadway, try not to slow down too early if you have traffic following you. Tap your brakes and reduce your speed quickly but safely.

Slow-moving traffic -- Some vehicles cannot travel very fast or have trouble keeping up with the speed of traffic. If you spot these vehicles early, you have time to change lanes or slow down safely. Slowing suddenly can cause a traffic accident.

  • Watch for large trucks and small under-powered cars on steep grades or when they’re entering traffic. They can lose speed on long or steep hills, and it takes longer for these vehicles to get up to speed when they enter traffic.
  • Farm tractors, animal-drawn vehicles, and roadway maintenance vehicles usually go 25 mph or less. These vehicles should have a slow-moving vehicle decal (an orange triangle) on the back.

Trouble spots -- Wherever people or traffic gather, your room to maneuver is limited. You need to lower your speed to have time to react in a crowded space.

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