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2.5 Communicating In Traffic

Other drivers will not know what you are going to do until you communicate your intentions.

Using Turn Signals

  • Signal early. Signal well before you turn. It is the best way to keep others from trying to pass you.
  • Signal continuously. You need both hands on the wheel to turn safely. Do not cancel the signal until you have completed the turn.
  • Do not forget to turn off your turn signal after you have turned (if you do not have self-cancelling signals).
  • Use your turn signal when changing lanes. Change lanes slowly and smoothly. A driver you did not see may have a chance to honk his/her horn or avoid your vehicle.

Using Lights and Horn

  • Slowing down - If you need to slow down, warn drivers behind you with a few light taps on the brake pedal - enough to flash the brake lights. Use the four-way emergency flashers when you are driving very slow or are stopped.
  • Tight turns - Most car drivers do not know how slow you have to go to make a tight turn in a large vehicle. Give drivers behind you warning by braking early and slowing gradually.
  • Stopping on the road - Truck and bus drivers sometimes stop in the road to unload cargo or passengers or to stop at a railroad crossing. Warn following drivers by flashing your brake lights. Do not stop suddenly.
  • Driving slowly - Drivers often do not realize how fast they are catching up to a slow vehicle until they are very close. If you must drive slowly, alert following drivers by turning on your emergency flashers if it is legal. (Laws regarding the use of flashers differ from one state to another. Check the laws of the states where you will drive).
  • Passing - When you are about to pass a vehicle, pedestrian or bicyclist, assume they do not see you. They could suddenly move in front of you. When it is legal, tap the horn lightly or, at night, flash your lights from low to highbeams and back. And drive carefully enough to avoid a crash even if they do not see or hear you. Some drivers try to help out others by signaling when it is safe to pass. You should not do this. You could cause an accident, you could be blamed, and it could cost you thousands of dollars.
  • Being seen - At dawn or dusk or in rain or snow, make your vehicle easier to be seen by turning on your low-beam headlights. If you are having trouble seeing other vehicles, other drivers will have trouble seeing yours.
  • Parking on side of road - When you pull off the road and stop, turn on the four-way emergency flashers, especially at night. Do not trust the taillights to give warning. Drivers have crashed into the rear of a parked vehicle because they thought it was moving normally. If you must stop on a road or the shoulder of any road, you must put out your emergency warning devices within 10 minutes. Place your warning devices at the following locations:
    • On a two-lane road carrying traffic in both directions or on an undivided highway, place warning devices within 10 feet of the front or rear corners to mark the location of the vehicle and 100 feet behind and ahead of the vehicle, on the shoulder or in the lane you are stopped in (see Figure 2-9 below).
    • Back beyond any hill, curve or other obstruction that prevents other drivers from seeing the vehicle within 500 feet (see Figure 2-10 below).
    • On or by a one-way or divided highway, place warning devices 10 feet, 100 feet and 200 feet toward the approaching traffic (see Figure 2-11 below).

When putting out the triangles, hold them between yourself and the oncoming traffic for your own safety (so other drivers can see you).

  • Use your horn only when needed - Your horn can let others know you are there and help to avoid a crash. Use your horn when needed; however, it can startle others and could be dangerous when used unnecessarily.

Your emergency warning devices (red reflective triangles) must be put out within 10 minutes of parking on the shoulder of the road. This is often asked on the written exam and must be memorized.

You will also be asked where the devices should be placed for different types of roadways. Be sure to memorize the placement of the devices as well as the distance they should be apart from each other. It is extremely likely you will be asked at least one question about this on the written exam!

If asked on the written exam, you should always keep your reflective triangles between yourself and oncoming traffic when placing them. It is pretty common to see a question related to this on the written exam.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Review Questions - Click On The Picture To Begin...

If you must park on the side of the road on a one-way or divided highway, your warning devices must be placed in all of the following locations except:
  • 100 feet in front of the vehicle
  • 100 feet behind the vehicle
  • 10 feet behind the vehicle
  • 200 feet behind the vehicle

Quote From The CDL Manual:

On or by a one-way or divided highway, place warning devices 10 feet, 100 feet and 200 feet toward the approaching traffic.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Be sure to memorize how to place your warning devices during different situations. This is something that will very likely show up on your written test.

Next
If you must park on the side of the road where an obstruction is present, such as a hill or curve, where should a warning device be placed?
  • Obstructions should have no bearing on where warning devices are placed
  • A warning device should be placed beyond the obstruction if it is 100 to 500 feet from your vehicle
  • All 3 warning devices should be placed beyond the obstruction
  • Warning devices should be placed closer to your vehicle if an obstruction is present

Quote From The CDL Manual:

A warning device should be placed back beyond any hill, curve or other obstruction that prevents other drivers from seeing the vehicle within 500 feet.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

It's very important to memorize where to place warning devices for different situations as this will very likely show up on your written exam. Please take a moment to review this section in your CDL manual and memorize the requirements for each situation.

Prev
Next
On a two-lane road carrying traffic in both directions or on an undivided highway, where must the reflective warning devices be placed?
  • 10 feet, 100 feet, and 200 feet in front of the vehicle
  • 100 feet in front of the vehicle and 500 feet and 1,000 feet behind the vehicle
  • 10 feet, 100 feet and 200 feet to the rear of your vehicle
  • Within 10 feet of the front or rear corners of the vehicle and 100 feet behind and ahead of the vehicle

Quote From The CDL Manual:

On a two-lane road carrying traffic in both directions or on an undivided highway, place warning devices within 10 feet of the front or rear corners to mark the location of the vehicle and 100 feet behind and ahead of the vehicle, on the shoulder or in the lane you are stopped in.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

It is extremely important to memorize proper warning device placement for different conditions (undivided highway, divided highway, and when obstructions are present). There is a very good chance a question regarding warning device placement will show up on your written exam.

Prev
Next
When putting out reflective triangles after parking on the side of the road, you should:
  • Hold them between yourself and the oncoming traffic
  • Hold them behind you
  • Carry them under your arm
  • Hold them at your sides

Quote From The CDL Manual:

When putting out the triangles, hold them between yourself and the oncoming traffic for your own safety (so other drivers can see you).

Prev
Next
Which of the following forms of driving communication should be used with caution so as not to startle another driver?
  • Using emergency flashers
  • Honking a horn
  • Using turn signals
  • Flashing lights

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Use your horn only when needed - Your horn can let others know you are there and help to avoid a crash. Use your horn when needed; however, it can startle others and could be dangerous when used unnecessarily.

Prev
Next
If you park on the side of the road, you must put out your emergency warning devices within how many minutes?
  • 30 minutes
  • 5 minutes
  • 10 minutes
  • 20 minutes

Quote From The CDL Manual:

If you must stop on a road or the shoulder of any road, you must put out your emergency warning devices within 10 minutes.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Pay special attention to this and memorize it. There is a good chance this question will show up on your written exam.

Prev
Finish
Please select an option
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