TTSAO Training Tip – Deceleration Lane

By Chris Harris, Safety Dawg Inc.

This is one thing that really bothers me when I’m out on a road test: 

The tractor-trailer driver is operating on a highway that has a speed limit of 80km or more. They are correctly using the right-hand lane. The truck driver is travelling at approximately the posted speed limit. The driver is instructed to take the next highway exit. 

As the driver is approaching the exit ramp, they start to decelerate or slow down on the travel portion of roadway. This action drops their speed to below the posted speed limit. The reaction of other vehicles is also to slow down below the post speed limit and apply their brakes. 

The driver’s action, slowing down before entering the “deceleration lane”, is inappropriate and unsafe.

The correct action for the driver is to enter the deceleration lane and slow down, and/or apply the brakes. This way, when the truck enters the exit ramp curve, they will be travelling at the appropriate rate of speed. 

By decelerating in the deceleration lane, the tractor-trailer driver is not causing any traffic jams on the highway. 

Are you slowing down on the highway? A common problem with new drivers is they’re trying to drive safely without thinking of the consequences of their actions and how they affect the other road users. 

So please instruct your students to use the deceleration lane as this is what it was designed for. Enter the deceleration lane at high speed and start to slow down to your appropriate speed long before you enter the curve of an exit ramp. 

Remember our catchphrase for the year 2024: training, training, training.

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