Texas Share the Road Program
Written by Greg on July 6, 2014
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the people of Texas “enjoy a highway system that is the envy of other states.” As such, it is essential for the populace to be mindful of other drivers while migrating from one area to the next. These not only include other drivers of passenger vehicles, but also those on bicycles, large trucks, school and work zones, motorcycles, and even pedestrians.
In order to meet this goal, to educate the populace on public and transportation safety, the Texas Department of Transportation has adopted the “Share the Road” mantra, which utilizes resources and public education to drive this point home.
As noted by Sharetheroadtexas.org, each year approximately ten thousand cyclists are injured through road accidents with much larger vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, etc. Unfortunately, of the 12,789 Texas crashes that have been reported in 2012 alone, the research notes that 12,132 injuries have occurred while 297 fatalities took place. While this loss of life is certainly sad in and of itself, this is made worse by the fact that these deaths were entirely preventable.
The Texas Shared the Road Program has fostered in specific subsets that many drivers should take into account when sharing public roadways with others.
Move Over or Slow Down
The Move Over / Slow Down Law requires that all Texas drivers must move over, slow down, and essentially make away for police, Texas Department of Transportation workers, as well as fire and emergency vehicles. This law was enacted on September 01, 2013 and drivers should take care when moving into the driving space of these governmental vehicles.
A large part of the program’s initiatives is to “Drive Friendly. Drive Safe.” Due to rising fuel costs, as well as an increase in road maintenance, Texas drivers have found that they share the road with even more bicyclists, pedestrians, and construction personnel and equipment. As mentioned previously, each driver in Texas has an obligation to everyone they share the road with. Ignoring traffic lights and signs can cause accidents which can potentially lead to injury or loss of life.
A good rule of thumb when driving is to:
- Watch for all pedestrians and bicyclists. Remember they share the roadways too!
- Do not drive in the bike lane!
- When passing construction zones, remember to slow down.
- Be mindful of road conditions, inclement weather, and any other possibility that could impact the roadway.
- Reduce speed, turn down the radio, and be aware of flashing lights when approaching railroad crossings.
- Do not text and drive!
Aside from the above suggestions for the best practices in road safety, the Texas Share the Road Program also offers an abundance of resources. These include various safety initiative research articles, such as emergencies and emergency planning, statistics on roadway information, and announcements for important legislation that affect you and the various roads we use for transportation. Feel free to peruse this information and better acquaint yourself with the offerings the Texas Transportation department has. And above all else – Drive Safely!