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2.7.3 – Space to the Sides

Commercial vehicles are often wide and take up most of a lane. Safe drivers will manage what little space they have. You can do this by keeping your vehicle centered in your lane and avoiding driving alongside others.

Staying Centered in a Lane. You need to keep your vehicle centered in the lane to keep safe clearance on either side. If your vehicle is wide, you have little room to spare.

Traveling Next to Others. There are two dangers in traveling alongside other vehicles:

  • Another driver may change lanes suddenly and turn into you.
  • You may be trapped when you need to change lanes.

Find an open spot where you are not near other traffic. When traffic is heavy, it may be hard to find an open spot. If you must travel near other vehicles, try to keep as much space as possible between you and them. Also, drop back or pull forward so that you are sure the other driver can see you.

Strong Winds. Strong winds make it difficult to stay in your lane. The problem is usually worse for lighter vehicles. This problem can be especially bad coming out of tunnels. Do not drive alongside others if you can avoid it.

2.7.4 – Space Overhead

Hitting overhead objects is a danger. Make sure you always have overhead clearance.

  • Do not assume that the heights posted at bridges and overpasses are correct. Repaving or packed snow may have reduced the clearances since the heights were posted.
  • The weight of a cargo van changes its height. An empty van is higher than a loaded one. Even though you got under a bridge when you were loaded does not mean that you can do it when you are empty.
  • If you doubt you have safe space to pass under an object, go slowly. If you are not sure you can make it, take another route. Warnings are often posted on low bridges or underpasses, but sometimes they are not.
  • Some roads can cause a vehicle to tilt. There can be a problem clearing objects along the edge of the road, such as signs, trees or bridge supports. Where this is a problem, drive a little closer to the center of the road.
  • Before you back into an area, get out and check for overhanging objects such as trees, branches or electric wires. It is easy to miss seeing them while you are backing. (Also check for other hazards at the same time.)

2.7.5 – Space Below

Many drivers forget about the space under their vehicles. That space can be very small when a vehicle is heavily loaded. This is often a problem on dirt roads and in unpaved yards. Do not take a chance on getting hung up. Drainage channels across roads can cause the ends of some vehicles to drag. Cross such depressions carefully.

Railroad tracks can also cause problems, particularly when pulling trailers with a low underneath clearance. Do not take a chance on getting hung up halfway across.

Multiple-Choice Questions:

Question #103 (1 of 1)

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Can you assume the heights posted at bridges and overpasses are correct? If not, why not?

  • Yes, it's safe to assume the heights posted at bridges and overpasses are correct. The regulations are very strict.
  • No, you can not assume they are correct. The methods they use to determine the exact height have changed over the years and they have not updated all of the signs.
  • No, you can not assume they are correct. The height posted is only required to be within 6 inches of the actual height, so it could be wrong.
  • No, you can not assume they are correct. Repaving or packed snow may have reduced the clearances since the heights were posted.
Do not assume that the heights posted at bridges and overpasses are correct. Repaving or packed snow may have reduced the clearances since the heights were posted.
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