Teen Driver Updates from Secretary of State Ruth Johnson
car next to carrier

Sharing the road with commercial vehicles

Sharing the road is key to safe driving, especially in the case of commercial motor vehicles. In crashes involving large trucks, the occupants of a car are much more likely to sustain injuries and fatalities.

Keep these tips for driving around commercial motor vehicles in mind to help you safely share the road:

  • Commercial vehicle drivers may not be able to see traffic directly in front of, alongside, or close behind their vehicles. Large commercial trucks have blind spots or “no zones,” spaces in which motorists should not linger because they are not readily visible to the commercial driver. By hanging out in a commercial vehicle’s “no zones,” you are essentially hidden from the truck driver and this increases the chances that the truck could hit you when it is changing lanes or turning. These “no zones” are in the front, behind, and on both sides of the commercial vehicle. Stay out of the “no zones.”
  • Commercial vehicle drivers cannot stop or maneuver their vehicles as easily as a passenger vehicle. They take longer to stop. A passenger vehicle traveling at 55 mph can stop in about 130 feet to 140 feet. A commercial vehicle traveling at the same speed takes 400 feet to stop.
  • Commercial vehicles need room to make right turns. They may swing wide to the left to safely negotiate a right turn. When you see a commercial vehicle with its right turn signal on at an intersection, know that the truck is going to make a wide right turn. Do not try to pass on the right-hand side or you might get squeezed between the truck and the curb. With these dangers in mind, stay behind trucks making right turns.
  • Stay behind the white stopping lines. They are there for a reason. If you stop past the line, commercial vehicles will not be able to complete their turns without hitting you.

Get additional information and safety tips

Report dangerous traffic conditions to authorities

unsecured load

If you have a concern about a potentially dangerous traffic situation in your community–for example, a perceived need for the installation of a traffic light at a particular intersection or a stop sign that is partially blocked by a tree branch–report it to proper authorities.

If there is a safety problem that needs immediate attention to prevent injury, such as debris in a lane of traffic, a vehicle with an unsecured load that poses danger or a driver operating their vehicle in a reckless manner, report the situation by calling 9-1-1.

SOS Johnson

“Learning to drive is an exciting time, but please remember it is also a time of great responsibility. By obeying the rules of the road, avoiding distractions like texting, and never drinking and driving, you’ll reach your destination safely.”

Ruth Johnson
Secretary of State

driver education

Parking tip for parents

Plan to spend a good amount of time on parking practice with your teen – it’s a difficult skill to learn.

Many crashes happen in parking lots, and mastering parking skills is an important way to help avoid collisions. Have your teen practice angle and perpendicular parking 15-20 times each.

Information excerpted from the Parent’s Supervised Driving Guide, a helpful resource for families with young drivers..


Give yourself room

Keep a “cushion of space” around your vehicle when driving on a highway. Look at least 12 seconds ahead of your vehicle to anticipate hazards and maintain awareness of merging and exiting vehicles.

Also, turn your head to check your vehicle’s blind spots before every lane change. While you cannot get rid of blind spots, you can make them smaller by properly adjusting the mirrors.

Distracted driving 
leads to head-on crash

Two drivers are lucky to be alive after a head-on crash that was reportedly caused by one driver’s distraction in looking at a GPS screen rather than the road.

Read the Ann Arbor News story.

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