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Watch for heavy trucks during colder months

Watch for heavy trucks during colder months

For Immediate Release: Feb 13 2023
STATEWIDE, N.D. – In North Dakota, motor vehicle crashes involving heavy vehicles are more common in cold weather months, October-March than warm weather months. The majority of these crashes (69%) are in rural areas.

Heavy trucks include single unit trucks (2-axle or 3-axle), truck tractors (bobtail, semi-trailer, doubles and triples), and trucks with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating greater than 10,000 pounds. Understanding safe driving habits around heavy vehicles is the responsibility of all drivers.

“In North Dakota in 2021, one heavy vehicle-related crash occurred nearly every 12 hours and one heavy vehicle-related fatality occurred about every 33 days. Please share the road with trucks,” said Highway Safety Division Director Karin Mongeon.

Motorists can follow these additional tips to share the road with large vehicles:
  • Drive defensively - Pay attention to vehicle locations, traffic flow, vehicle signals and weather so you can anticipate problems and have plenty of time to react.
  • Avoid blind spots - Large vehicles have extensive blind spots on both sides. If you can’t see the driver’s face in their side-view mirror, they can’t see you.
  • Pass safely, or not at all - Large vehicles need twice the time and space to stop as smaller passenger vehicles. When changing lanes in front of large vehicles, allow one vehicle length for every 10 mph you are traveling (70 mph = 7 car lengths).
  • Pay close attention - Never cross behind a truck that’s backing up. Truck drivers don’t have a rearview mirror and therefore may not see you behind them.
  • Avoid the "squeeze play" - Truck and bus drivers sometimes need to swing wide to the left to safely make a right turn. They can’t see vehicles squeezing in between them and the curb. Watch for their turn signals and give them room to turn.

Over the past five years in North Dakota, 46% of heavy vehicle-related crashes were single vehicle crashes and nearly 17% were rear-end crashes. Additionally, 29% happened at an intersection or were intersection-related, nearly 15% were a rollover crash, and nearly 10% were speed-related.

Learn more about traffic safety initiatives at or join the conversation on the Vision Zero ND Facebook or Twitter page.