Operating a commercial vehicle on heavily congested highways and narrow urban roads isn’t easy. These are large vehicles that require special care to get around. It isn’t a simple matter of just hopping in the cab and going
Whether you are behind the wheel of a box truck or an eighteen-wheeler, there’s no way your going to drive the many thousands of miles you will over your career, year in and year out, without incident, if you aren’t operating your rig in a safe manner.
Safely driving a big rig truck is about more than just reacting, it’s about thinking ahead. Today we will look at several aspects of safety-conscious driving, starting with everything it takes to get ready for the road.
Always Be Prepared
If you are at the controls of a commercial vehicle, safety-conscious driving isn’t an option, it’s a requirement. Truck drivers who practice safe and defensive driving techniques take the time to complete pre-trip checklists and perform inspections. They know how important it is to be familiarized with with the vehicle.
As our nation’s bridges and roads are crumble, Congress quibbles and nothing gets done. Truckers who have to drive in road conditions that are less than stellar have to function at a higher level of decision-making. They’ve got to have the skills and the knowledge to get the job done efficiently and safely.
But being prepared is also about more than just checklists and driving knowledge. Being prepared also includes being road-wise and safety-conscious.
Always be Safe
Always remember that safety-conscious and defensive driving are not mutually exclusive driving techniques. If you plan on getting behind the wheel, you need to know how to combine these two essential principles.
Safe truck drivers develop solid safe-driving habits and operate within their framework consistently, every time. They are both mentally and physically prepared to get behind the wheel, without fail.
Not only do safe truckers consistently obey all the traffic laws, but they operate in a professional and courteous manner at all times. They are also able to quickly adapt their driving style to match whatever the conditions are in the moment.
Safe drivers understand the importance of speed control and safe distance. The last thing they want to do is get too close without the ability to stop in time. They are aware of their vehicles limitations and know where and when to apply power.
Defensive techniques differ from safety-conscious techniques in a few different ways. Being a safety-conscious driver is something you do in the moment. You are staying aware of conditions and making decisions instantly.
Anyone can have the good fortune to avoid accidents, but it takes true defensive skill to operate a large vehicle safely time and time again. A true defensive driver is someone who is actively scanning the road and looking for road hazards or mistakes of other drivers.
Defensive driving requires you to have the foresight to size up traffic situations on the road ahead, before you even get to them. Looking ahead allows you to start slowing down sooner and braking faster, the moment you see a hazard developing. Even so, apply the brakes gradually to avoid a spin or grind.
Being able to anticipate the actions of others on the road is a hallmark of defensive driving. Taking the appropriate action to prevent an accident is crucial in the initial moments of an adverse event. Defensive drivers know how to do this.
Be a Professional
Studious and safe truck drivers know how to maintain and operate their vehicle in a manner that avoids contributing to, or being involved in, an accident. In spite of the incorrect actions of other drivers, consummate professionals remain cool, calm, and collected.
After all, you must be able to anticipate hazards and know how to protect you and your vehicle from roadway dangers. Remaining alert and aware is crucial to maintaining the safety of yourself and those around you.
We mustn’t forget that safety is now part of our job description on a regulatory level. We know we are safe drivers, but we have to make sure the government knows as well. So the next time you get in your rig and turn the key, ask yourself: How safety-conscious am I?