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You know that feeling you get when heading down the highway at 60-70 mph with an 18-wheel semi-truck in the lane beside you?

It’s that self-preservation feeling that causes you to speed up or slow down. Yes, we have to share the road with them, but that doesn’t mean we have to do it side by side, right?

From Aug. 5-31, commercial motor vehicle drivers will be reminded to obey traffic laws, use their seat belts, slow down and pay attention through the “Share the Road” program, started by the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

However, it’s not just on them.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is also reminding ordinary motorists like you and me to “Respect the Load. Share the Road.”

Commercial motor vehicles make up 20 percent of Missouri’s interstate traffic, MoDOT said. They carry goods from coast to coast and are a vital part of our nation’s economy.

Because of the disproportionate size of semi-truck and other vehicles, crashes between the two often involve serious injuries, MoDOT said. Often, drivers of passenger cars aren’t paying attention or are driving aggressively around the big rigs.

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety offers these tips to stay safe:

• Don’t cut off large trucks or buses. Make sure you can see the truck’s cab lights in your rear-view mirror before moving back into your original lane.

• Stay out of the “No Zone.” Big rigs 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 safety cushion around trucks. Can you see the truck’s side mirrors? If not, the driver cannot see you.

Semi-trucks and passenger vehicles use the same roads; that won’t change. However, careful and defensive driving will go a long way toward preventing often-dangerous wrecks between the two.

News Tribune

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