Troopers and Truckers Team Up for Highway Safety
KSAL Staff - Tue 08:41 PM 04/24/2012
For the sixth year, the Kansas Highway Patrol's Trucks on Patrol for Safety, or TOPS, program is rolling across the state's highways.
According to the KHP, TOPS provides troopers an opportunity to ride with professional semi truck drivers. The troopers onboard the large trucks have a front seat view to witness, document, and report violations to other troopers on patrol in the immediate area. Through the FMCSA grant-funded TOPS program, troopers enforce state laws and federal regulations in and around large trucks, as well as educate the motoring public of the dangers that exist around semis.
The trucks, trailers, and drivers that the Patrol uses for the program are donated by the industry. The companies partner with the Patrol for a week in a specific region of the state to make these resources available. In the north central area this past week, the partnering company was a Kansas Motor Carriers Association (KMCA)-member company, who donated a driver for the Patrol's use.
The Patrol offers the following safety tips when travelling around large trucks:
· Stay out of trucks' blind spots-areas directly behind, and on both sides of the truck where the driver cannot see cars. If you can't see the driver's side view mirrors, you’re in a blind spot and the driver can't see you. If your car is beside a large truck, either drive on past or back off. If passing, drive your car on the left side where the blind spot is smaller.
· Never follow a large truck too closely. Stay behind large trucks by at least one car length for every 10 miles per hour of speed. Providing extra distance allows you to see in front of the truck. If there is congested traffic or a crash ahead of you, you will see it in time to stop or safely steer your car away from the danger.
· Use extra caution when passing a large truck. After you pass a large truck, do not pull your car back into its traffic lane until you see its headlights in your rearview mirror. Leaving this extra distance gives the truck driver time to slow down or stop if something is happening on the highway ahead.
· Always remember that a loaded tractor-trailer or semi truck needs as much as 100 yards - the length of a football field - to come to a complete stop. No matter how crowded the highway, make sure to maintain this safe distance. If the truck driver ignores this margin of safety and follows your car too closely, do not take a chance. Move your car into another traffic lane.
· Always use your turn signal when changing lanes. Drivers around you need to know what you are doing so they can maintain a safe driving distance.
· Always use seatbelts and child safety seats when appropriate. This is your best defense against injury and death should you become involved in a motor vehicle crash.