As a commercial truck driver, you probably feel like you’re an exceptionally skilled operator with plenty of experience on the road. That said, there are still some safety concerns that you need to keep in mind as you travel. Since you’re operating a vehicle that’s much larger than most standard cars and trucks on the road, you have to be more cautious and careful to avoid causing damage to yourself or others while on the road. Follow all the guidelines below and you’ll have a safer driving experience, and you’ll likely have a more successful career as well.
Minimize Your Lane Changes
When you’re driving a large truck, there are many large blind spots. To reduce problems and help keep everyone on the road safe, minimize how often you change lanes. Only do so when you have to, and take your time to check out the new lane to be sure that it is clear before you move into it.
How to Pull over Safely
When your vehicle is experiencing a problem that leaves you on the side of the road, make use of your flashers, reflective triangles and possibly road flares to alert other drivers that you’re pulled off on the side. Doing so also helps create a safe area of space for you to address the problem outside of the vehicle.
Anticipate Stops and Turns
Commercial trucks are massive, and they take longer to slow down than conventional vehicles do. That means you have to leave more space between you and the vehicles ahead of you. It also means that you need to pay attention to the road and try to anticipate sharp turns or stops as soon as you can so you have time to slow down to react safely.
Don’t Drive Tired
One of the biggest safety risks that drivers take on a regular basis is driving tired. By law, commercial drivers are only allowed to operate a vehicle for a total of 11 hours consecutively. Make sure that you’re stopping and pulling off whenever you are tired, and never make the mistake of driving when you are exhausted. You’re putting yourself at risk, and others as well. Beyond that, it could cost you your license if you are found driving more than 11 hours in a row.
Keep Chains Available
As a commercial driver, you always have to be ready for rough driving conditions. Do yourself a favor and keep a set of tire chains in your vehicle at all times. You can quickly put these into position when driving through snowy or icy conditions and improve your vehicle’s handling so you can travel more safely. It’s a good idea to keep them available at all times, but at the very least, make sure that you are carrying chains in the cooler months of the year.
Keep all the above things in mind as you drive and you’ll minimize your risk of problems on the road.