Safety First: Defensive Driving Style for Truck Drivers

Driving a large truck calls for special skills and expertise. Truckers with CDLs need to be wary of the long road that lies ahead of them, and also ensure that the vehicles behind keep a safe distance. And they must have the right level of confidence (but not overconfidence) to maneuverer their trucks whether the roads are empty or jammed with traffic.

By following some defensive driving skills, CDL home daily truck drivers can avoid accidents and reach home safely at the end of each work day – the moment they look forward to.

Let us look into some of these:

Proactive Planning

Before setting out on any road journey, it is essential to plan out the route first. Truckers should think about where they need to go and select the roads that enable them to reach their destination in time. They should always consider the possibilities of hurdles they can come across – heavy traffic at certain time of the day, construction zones, and weather-related problems.

It is also good to plan for stops and emergencies on the way. At times vehicles are stopped due to an accident on the road or general inquiries by the police. And emergencies such as flat tire or other mechanical problems cannot be ruled out. Truckers must take suitable precautions to ensure that wherever possible, such issues do not disrupt their timely completion of tasks.


Being alert of what lies ahead and what is behind 

Truck drivers need to almost always look for hazards that could come from distracted drivers, pedestrians crossing the road, or even debris and uneven tarmac that can cause their truck to waver or lead to an accident. Scanning what lies ahead allows them to avoid jumping stop lights and slow down their speed if there is a traffic jam ahead.

Using their rear view mirrors and parking cameras to see what is behind also helps them to maintain safety from other vehicles and understand when other drivers are about to overtake or change lanes.


Driving at a safe distance

Any technique about defensive driving for truck drivers would begin with driving at a safe distance. Truckers must have adequate time and space to react sensibly in all situations they face on the road.

When it comes to driving a truck, it is essential to follow more than the traditional 3-second gap driving rule between the truck and the vehicle in front of it. This is understandable because large rigs take longer (than cars) to come to a halt.

What’s more, amidst poor weather conditions such as snow, rain, excessive wind, or on a major highway with numerous lanes cutting into different directions, truck drivers need to keep even greater distance from other vehicles because such conditions affect vision and reaction times when a decision needs to be taken.


Maintaining appropriate speed

Drivers engaged in CDL A home daily jobs often get tempted to speed up when they feel pressurized to expedite consignment deliveries. However, driving at a safe speed is critical to defensive driving style. While driving too fast, a trucker may not be able to stop in time even if another driver makes a mistake or changes lanes speedily.

Also, responsible transportation companies never overload their drivers with too many duties to complete. They maintain a large fleet and regularly hire experienced drivers for their CDL A home daily jobs to keep fulfilling service level agreements (SLAs) with clients, and ensuring healthy work-life balance for all their drivers. The thoughts of overspeeding must therefore be always suppressed.


Staying focused at cross-roads

As the truck comes near an intersection, the driver again needs to slow down and watch out carefully for pedestrians and bikers who may get in the way. Before getting on to a particular road, the internal and external rear view mirrors should also be checked for traffic around the truck.

It is important to check out for signals and signs that indicate how other vehicles would move at the intersections. Lastly, the truck driver should be wary of blind spots in both the directions before crossing the intersection and changing a lane – the assumption that there is nothing behind can be wrong.


Avoiding road rage situations

Road rage is a common problem faced on open roads and no matter how frustrating, truck drivers must avoid getting into upsetting situations that only endanger lives. Defensive driving style in this context may be summarized into the following points:


  • Avoid retaliation. When an experienced truck driver notices someone overtaking aggressively or getting abusive while driving, he does not react by doing the same thing. The idea is to avoid escalations into dangerous situations and letting go to move on with the day. It is better to control personal feelings instead of trying to control someone else.


  • Remember that aggression does not solve anything and it can only make things worse for everyone.


  • Ignore immature people who try to get under your skin – Most people with aggressive behavior on the road have a low self-esteem of themselves, and their anger erupts from their personal issues.


Summarily, as a truck driver your aim should be to drive safely, complete the duties assigned to you and get back home after a fulfilling day at work. Defensive driving techniques help truckers to make continual progress in their careers and earn well for their loved ones. And all it requires is to stay alert and calm while driving.


Also Read : Making Daily Fleet Operations Safer for Drivers