Truck Drivers Safety: 7 Essential Defensive Driving Tips

Driver safety has always been a significant topic in the truck driving industry. A lot of accidents and injuries can be avoided if drivers follow specific safety procedures. 

If you own delivery business, keeping all of your drivers safe on the road isn’t only crucial for their health and well-being. Their safety has a huge influence on other motorists on the road. Meanwhile, if you’re a truck driver reading this, there are a few things that you can do daily to make sure that you’re safe as much as possible, as well as the safety of other drivers too who share the road with you. 

Here are the essential truck driver safety tips you must know so you can protect yourself and other drivers on the road. 

Truckers Must Practice Defensive Driving 

white red and yellow food truck on road during daytime

Truckers are highly encouraged to practice defensive driving which is a form of driving that makes truck drivers be consistently looking out for potential risks and changes in road or driving conditions. 

Common truckers and truck delivery drivers must know how to lessen the risk of accidents and injuries by expecting possible hazardous situations and coming up with safe, well-thought decisions while driving behind the wheel. Utilizing defensive driving techniques can help drivers not get themselves involved in accidents. 

If you have truck drivers for your business, encouraging them with defensive driving techniques can make you worry less about expensive repairs, claim payouts, and insurance premiums increases. Here are some of the key defensive driving strategies and practices that truckers can follow: 

1. Look for blind spots 

Drivers who operate tractor-trailers know the difficulty of seeing cars behind or even next to their truck that drivers won’t be able to see directly because of being in a huge truck that’s so elevated from the ground. 

Most side and rear-view mirrors aren’t always ideal for checking blind spots, which is why it’s better for drivers to look over their shoulders and out the windows when swapping lanes. In addition, encourage them to give plenty of space around their vehicles when merging. 

2. Observe the three-second rule

white and blue truck on road during daytime

To prevent forward and rear collisions, the best practice that drivers can follow is the three-second rule. This is the rule that states how truck drivers must allow three full seconds to pass between the time the vehicle in front of them gets to a specific spot on the road and the time it would take for the truck driver to arrive on that same point. If there is a storm, heavy rain or strong winds, make sure drivers increase the follow time to five seconds. But if the roads are icy, drivers must increase the following time to 10 seconds. 

3. Be ready for emergencies

Driving over long distances can quickly change the conditions. This is why it’s important for drivers to be prepared for different potential emergency situations such as poor driving conditions or breakdowns. Drivers who know how to fill their cabs with snacks, water, first aid kit, blankets and a change of clothes can safely and comfortably adjust to unforeseen conditions that may necessitate them to pull off the road or wait for a long time when there are vehicle repairs.

4.  Keep your calm and stay collected 

Getting yourself into a road rage can be a serious danger to safe driving. When truckers experience harassment, honked at, or cut off by other drivers, it can be appealing to get some revenge like weaving or tailgating between lanes. 

If you’re the type of driver who allows anger to consume you, you are putting yourself and other people at risk for accidents. Get yourself out of road rage situations by distancing from angry drivers and even from your angry self. 

5. Use your signal always 

If you’re a driver who operates on longer stretches of road or throughout non-peak traffic times, you might be tempted to finish lane changes and get out of highways without even signalling. However, if you do fail to signal, it will only increase the possibility of collisions. 

Drivers should always be reminded to signal before changing lanes or turning because it’s also required by law. And even if there are no vehicles nearby, they should still signal which is a good practice too. 

6. Slow down when you are doubting 

red and white stop sign

Truck drivers must know how to slow down when there are changes on the road, such as bad weather or lack of visibility. Slow down if you think you need more time to take proper action or respond to immediate changes. Be cautious, for instance, when an animal runs onto the highway or when the road is slippery and it starts to rain. 

Knowing how and when to slow down can prevent further accidents or at the very least reduce the impact and seriousness of an accident when it happens. 

7. Always, always, always wear your seatbelt 

This may sound too obvious but did you know that according to studies, roughly 1 in 6 truck drivers do not wear their safety belts. Wearing a seatbelt is not only a requirement but it’s also your best protection to lessen any possible injury. There are more than 40% of deaths related to crash incidents that happen every year from not wearing a seatbelt.

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