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CMV Driving Tips - Inadequate Evasive Action

Inadequate evasive action may be defined as situations when drivers fail to execute a proper evasive maneuver by not using sufficient steering inputs, not braking appropriately, or a combination of insufficient steering and braking inputs.14 This may include drivers failing to slow in advance for stopped or stopping traffic, and abrupt steering maneuvers to avoid a vehicle, or object.14 A 2005 study reported that 14 percent of safety-critical events occurred when the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver executed an inadequate evasive action.80

Below are some tips that will help you to safely evade a traffic conflict.

TIP #1: Watch for Brake Lights

Focus on several lead vehicles ahead, or at least 15 seconds in front of you.16 Focusing on the vehicles ahead of you and being aware of their brake lights will allow you to safely react to changing conditions.41

Did You Know? It takes 3/4 of a second from the moment your brain sends the signal to your foot to move from the accelerator to when your foot actually applies the brake. In this short period of time, you may have already traveled 60 feet.16 Focusing on the vehicles ahead of you will help you react in a safe and timely manner.

An example of a driver performing an inadequate evasive action is shown in the video clip below. Training exercise questions follow the video clip.

VIDEO DESCRIPTION: The CMV driver is traveling in the right lane of a two-lane highway during the day. He is approaching stopped traffic ahead of him, but does not slow down and instead passes the stopped vehicle on the right side, crossing onto the shoulder. He then approaches a stop light and again fails to decelerate, this time passing the stopped vehicle from the left side and proceeding through the middle of an intersection.

TRAINING EXERCISE: After viewing the video, try to answer the following questions:

  • What indicators of slowing traffic should the driver have taken notice of and responded to?
  • How did the driver behave in response to a slowing lead vehicle?
  • What could the driver have done differently?

TIP #2: Practice Good Scanning Habits

Scan the driving environment and be aware of potential hazards. Recognize the hazards, determine what action to take, and then execute your actions safely. Knowing what hazards to be aware of will keep you prepared to execute proper evasive actions.

Did You Know? Two-vehicle crashes between large trucks and passenger vehicles result from inadequate evasive action 6.6 percent of the time.81