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Truck Driving Safety Tips
Statistically speaking, working as a driver in the transportation industry is one of the riskier career choices one can make. Numbers from the decade ending in 2012 suggest that just over 22 drivers die annually on the job for every 100,000 on the road. As a professional driver, you need to do everything you can to make sure you finish each workday in one piece. Defensive driving is a big part of that. It is also something that should be addressed in CDL training schools.
The concept of defensive driving is one of understanding the potential hazards you might encounter on a regular basis, and doing what is necessary to avoid them. It is a sound concept. Avoiding problems is the best way to stay out of trouble, regardless of what you are talking about. Avoiding problems on the road should be obvious to both drivers and trainers.
We have compiled a short list of defensive driving tips that you can employ for your own safety:
- Vehicle Inspections – Professional truck drivers are required by law to perform vehicle inspections before hitting the road. Such inspections are a normal part of what CDL training schools teach their students. Do not forget to do your inspection, even if you are a well-seasoned driver. Otherwise, you may miss something that could be potentially dangerous.
- Safe Distances – As you know, your truck and trailer combination is many times heavier than the passenger vehicles around you. Safe braking requires a lot of distance. For your own safety, and that of others on the road, keep a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. In bad weather, distances should be even greater.
- Be Patient – Patience is not usually thought of as a defensive driving skill. In fact, not many CDL training schools talk about it in depth. However, patience is an absolute necessity for the truck driver. Understand that something will happen nearly every day to throw off your schedule. It is okay. If you allow yourself to become agitated, you are more likely to be in an accident.
- Be Courteous – The courteous driver is one who is not only cognizant of other drivers, but one who treats them as he or she wishes to be treated. You do not always have to be first in line or the fastest on the highway. Sometimes common courtesy is the best policy.
- Turn Signals – The average car driver does not understand what you see from inside your truck. He or she thinks nothing of pulling up alongside you and blowing past as though you were standing still. So when you change lanes, make sure you give other cars plenty of warning by using your turn signal well in advance of the change. This will not stop every crazy driver from pulling up alongside you, but it will stop some of them.
- Center Lane Driving – It is a good idea not to drive in the center or left lanes if you are moving at the speed limit or under. In some states, trucks are not even allowed in the left lane at any speed. Regardless, stick to the right lane if you are not moving with the flow. Otherwise, you will find yourself in the dangerous position of having cars pass you on both sides.
Defensive driving is something professional drivers are taught in CDL training schools. Nevertheless, those skills can be forgotten over time. We encourage you to seriously consider the tips we have listed above and, if necessary.