You have to share the road with people who drive a variety of vehicles. The more you know about the particular driving requirements of different vehicles, the better equipped you'll be to share the road and predict the actions of other drivers.
The large truck is a special vehicle. Its motor is not much larger than a large car engine and yet the load it carries can be 50 or more times the weight of a car. When accelerating up to speed, truck drivers use up to 18 gear changes. Once they get into top gear, they do not appreciate having to start again. Therefore, avoid forcing a truck driver to slow down.
Large trucks will decrease speed when going uphill. You can expect truck drivers to pick up speed when going down hills to help them get up the other side.
Plan your passing manoeuvre accordingly. It takes longer to stop a large truck than a car, so a truck driver needs a longer following distance to be safe and in control. Do not cut in front of a large truck immediately after you have passed it.
Truck drivers have problems seeing smaller vehicles. Although they have mirrors that help them to see each side, you may not be visible to the driver if you follow too closely. (Besides, you can't see anything yourself.) Realize that in poor weather, exterior mirrors become spotted with rain and dirt and the truck driver does not have an interior mirror. Be sure to make yourself visible. Drive with your headlights on.
The driver of a large truck or bus has difficulty turning sharp corners, particularly to the right. If the driver follows the proper procedure, vehicles facing him on the street he is entering should be prepared for the large truck or bus to enter their half of the roadway. If the large truck operator is not following the proper procedure, vehicles on his right in the street he is leaving should stay well back to avoid being crushed between the large truck and the curb. When you see a large truck or bus making a sharp right turn, give it the room it needs.
All drivers should avoid a large truck's "no-zone." The no-zone refers to the blindspot areas around big trucks, where crashes are most likely to occur. Just like cars, large trucks have blindspots on both sides, but a large truck's are considerably bigger. These blindspots can mean trouble if a trucker decides to change lanes and a car is in the blindspot. In addition to the blindspots on the sides of a large truck, drivers should be careful around the front end of large trucks.
Truckers sit up high and the hood of the cab obscures part of the road ahead. This is why when drivers in a car are passing a large truck, they should make sure they can see the entire truck cab in their rear-view mirror before pulling in front. If a car cuts in too soon, truck drivers are forced to react with little time or room to spare. Large trucks also have deep rear blindspots. A good rule of thumb is that if you can't see the large truck's mirrors, the truck driver can't see you.
- Slow down - stay back and stay alive when you approach the mini blizzard created by a snow plow.
- Snow plows are on highways to clear snow and ice - not get in your way.
- Drivers must slow to 60 km/h when passing Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure equipment with warning lights flashing, whether in motion or not.
- Snow plows must travel slower than average traffic. Be patient and proceed with caution.
- Plows pull over about every 10 km to allow drivers to pass. Wait and pass when it is safe to do so.
- Department crews clear major highways within six hours of the end of a storm to make winter driving safe. Please give them room to work.
When a motorcycle and a four-wheel vehicle collide, the motorcyclist is at a high risk for being killed or severely injured. Since motorcycles are more agile than cars, their actions are more difficult to predict and their size makes them hard to see.
Most motorcycles are wired so that their headlights are on at all times, making it easier for you to see them. Be alert for motorcycles that do not have their headlights on. During motorcycle season, check twice before making a lane change or turn - once for cars and trucks, and once for motorcycles and bikes.
When passing a motorcycle, ensure you leave adequate distance ahead of the motorcycle before you pull back in to the lane. Failure to leave sufficient room can be extremely dangerous for the motorcyclist.
The same three-second following distance should be given to motorcycles as is given to other vehicles. Following too closely may cause a motorcycle rider's attention to be distracted from the road and traffic ahead.
Motorcyclists are allowed to ride two abreast but most riders prefer to have a full lane width. A skilled motorcyclist is constantly changing positions within a lane to increase his ability to see and be seen, and to avoid objects on the road. Never move into the same lane beside a motorcycle, even if the lane is wide and the motorcyclist is riding to one side. It is not only illegal, it is extremely hazardous. When overtaking a motorcycle or bicycle in your lane, you must pass in the same manner as you would pass a car.
Bad weather and slippery surfaces cause greater problems for motorcycles than for cars. Allow more following distance for motorcycles when the road surface is wet and slippery. These conditions create stability problems.
Being aware of these situations can help you share the road safely with all cyclists.
New motorcyclists are required to display a Motorcycle Graduated Driver Licensing (MGDL) placard on their licence plate identifying them as new riders. Learners are required to display a red 'L' placard and Novice riders must display green 'N' placards. Please use caution when passing or following a new rider and give them plenty of space.
Bicycles are vehicles. More and more people are using bicycles for transportation, not only for recreational purposes, but increasingly for getting to and from work.
Drivers of motor vehicles must learn to share the road with bicycles. Cyclists are not permitted to use the sidewalk. Therefore, motorists must realize that cyclists are required to use traffic lanes.
Some communities have lanes designated exclusively for bicycles or lanes designated to be shared by bicycles and vehicles. It's important to become familiar with the regulations of each community you drive within.
There is also a class of bicycle called power-assisted bicycles, many of which are designed to look like scooters equipped with pedals. These types of vehicles use an electric motor to provide assistance to the operator up to a maximum speed of 32 km/h. For more information on power-assisted bicycles, please call our Customer Service Centre at 1-844-TLK-2SGI (1-844-855-2744).
Farm equipment and overwidth vehicles
Saskatchewan's agricultural base means that farm equipment such as combines, tractors, large cultivators, etc. may be on highways and grid roads from early spring until late fall.
These vehicles create a hazard, as they travel very slowly - 10 to 40 km/h. Therefore, you may come upon them very quickly and you will need to stop or change lanes rapidly.
Snowmobiles, ATVs and golf carts
If snowmobiles and ATVs were always operated according to the law, there would be little chance of conflict with other vehicles on the streets and highways. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.
Snowmobiles are difficult to see because they are small and low. These features, accompanied by exposure to weather, also make it difficult for the snowmobile operator to see. As snowmobiles are useful in storms, they are likely to be out when visibility is poor.
Also, children with little road experience operate snowmobiles and ATVs. When you see a snowmobile or ATV, anticipate that it may cross the road suddenly or go out of control, and decide how you will react.
In some municipalities, local bylaws allow snowmobiles, ATVs and golf carts to be operated on the street.
School bus drivers have a difficult job. There are plenty of distractions inside the bus. Knowing this, you should make extra allowances, and be aware of the possibility that the bus driver may not see you or your signals. Rear-end collisions are the most frequent type of crash involving school buses and are usually caused by another driver failing to stop while the bus is loading or unloading passengers.
When approaching a school bus, if you see amber flashing lights, slow down and proceed with caution. If the red flashing lights are activated, you must come to a complete stop. If you are approaching the bus from the opposite direction on an undivided highway, you must also stop. The single greatest threat to the safety of children who ride school buses is motorists who pass the bus when children are loading or unloading.
When approaching a bus that has its stop arm out and its red flashing lights activated, as a driver:
- You must stop no closer than 5 m (15 ft.) from the front or back of the bus.
- You must not advance your vehicle until the bus driver turns off the flashing red stop lamps and deactivates the stop arm.
- Before moving, check to see that all children have safely crossed the roadway.
Passing a school bus with red flashing lights is a serious offence and will result in a minimum fine of $360. You do not have to stop for a school bus if you are travelling in the opposite direction on a divided highway. Some cities, towns and villages may have a bylaw prohibiting the use of flashing red stop lamps and stop arms on school buses. In those communities you are allowed to pass the bus. Drivers are not required to stop for buses displaying four-way hazard lamps; however, use caution, go slowly and always watch for children crossing.
All emergency vehicles (fire engines, police vehicles and ambulances) have the right of way when displaying flashing lights and using sirens (sound devices).
- When approached by an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing or sirens engaged, you must immediately drive as closely as possible to the right edge of the roadway and not enter the next intersection until the emergency vehicle has passed. The only exception is if a peace officer gives you other directions. On one-way streets, pull right or left to the nearest curb.
- At an intersection, you must stop and let the emergency vehicle through the intersection, unless given other directions by a peace officer. If the emergency vehicle has its lights flashing, but no siren engaged, motorists in the vicinity should extend the same privilege as previously mentioned while meeting or being overtaken by the emergency vehicle.
- When an emergency vehicle is stopped on the highway with its emergency lights in operation, you must slow down to 60 km/h when passing it. This does not apply to vehicles travelling in the opposite direction on a divided highway. However, this does apply when travelling in the opposite direction on an undivided highway.
- Never attempt to follow an emergency vehicle going to, or coming from, an emergency.
Watch Now: Sharing the road with emergency vehicles
Tow trucks and vehicles rendering assistance on the roadside
When a vehicle used exclusively for towing or rendering assistance is stopped on a roadside with its amber or amber and blue lights flashing to assist a disabled vehicle, drivers must slow to 60 km/h when passing. This does not apply to vehicles travelling in the opposite direction on a divided highway. However, this does apply when travelling in the opposite direction on an undivided highway.
Funeral processions have special privileges and should not be interfered with or interrupted. They must, however, obey all traffic signs and signals - unless all drivers with the right of way stop to permit the procession to proceed.