Driving a truck or other type of delivery vehicle on a public road comes with great responsibility. In the first place, you are responsible for property worth a large amount of money. Secondly, your driving habits could have a direct impact on the safety of other road users and their property. The tips below will go a long way to helping you become a safer driver.
The Driver Is The Most Important Part Of The Equation
Never forget that the driver is in charge of everything. Without him or her being wide awake and alert at all times, it doesn’t help that the truck and other equipment are in prime condition. Drivers should understand the importance of getting lots of rest before the start of a trip. And they should never be encouraged or allowed to exceed the permitted driving hours.
Drivers Should Always Remain Alert
Drivers should understand that they are sharing the road with other people. They should, therefore, always be aware of everything that is happening around them. Look around the truck and as far down the road as possible for any signs of danger. And when traveling on a highway in heavy traffic, always look for a possible ‘escape route’ in case an accident e.g. happens in front of you and you have to act quickly.
Check The Weather Forecasts
The weather can, and often is, a major contributing factor when it comes to accidents. Before a trip (and if it is a long trip, also during the journey) the driver should check the weather forecasts to see what weather conditions are likely to be. He or she should also be aware of what the outside temperature is to be prepared for adverse road conditions, for example, ice on the road surface.
Make Sure You Adhere To The Recommended Following Distance
Typically, if something should go wrong, it’s most likely going to happen on the road ahead of your vehicle. That is why the correct following distance is so important. If you always make sure that there is a ‘buffer zone’ in front of your vehicle, chances are very good that in case of an emergency you will be able to stop before plowing into the traffic ahead of you. For a loaded truck, seven seconds is normally regarded as the minimum safe following distance.
Do Not Change Lanes Unless Absolutely Necessary
The chances of an accident happening increase significantly every time a driver changes lanes. To put that differently: you can dramatically reduce the odds of getting involved in an accident by simply staying in your lane whenever possible. If you do that, and an accident occurs, it is much more likely that the other vehicle will be at fault instead of you.
Refrain From Using Cruise Control As Far As Possible
Cruise control should only be used in perfect conditions. It can be extremely dangerous in areas where there are roadworks, on icy or wet roads, in urban areas, in heavy traffic, or on hilly or winding roads.
Use a GPS Designed With Truckers In Mind
This type of GPS shows crucial information such as the distance to your exit, traffic reports, when it’s time to change lanes, etc. This can remove a lot of stress from the driving experience for the driver, particularly when he or she is driving in an unknown area. Just remember that even a GPS can sometimes fail, so always have a nice old-fashioned map ready as a backup.
Take Regular Breaks To Rest And Quickly Check Your Vehicle
This will prevent you from becoming too tired to properly focus on the road. It also provides an opportunity to look for potential hazards like air leaks, soft or damaged tires, or dripping oil or coolant. Remember, a truck doesn’t have to be moving to be a safety hazard. If your truck breaks down in busy traffic it will immediately become a major accident risk.