Professional truck drivers are the safest drivers on the road. Experienced drivers with a record of safety do a lot of things other drivers don’t. You can’t drive 120k+ miles per year, accident free, without safe driving habits.
It’s kind of like how good sports teams seem to get all the lucky bounces. They’re simply in a position to take advantage of opportunities. They’re disciplined and do the right things.
A lot of the habits, of professional drivers, are common sense. We do them every day – all day. If your a new driver or are thinking of becoming a professional truck driver here a few habits to get into.
If you react, then you’re probably in a panic or emergency situation.
Drivers need to pay close attention to road and weather conditions, traffic flow, and the traffic around them. They need to see & recognize possible hazards, thinking about worst case scenarios. They need to know what’s going to happen before it happens.
Truckers are constantly scanning and taking note of pedestrians, construction, traffic lights, cyclists, aggressive drivers, etc. All of these elements can have predictable behaviors and you can anticipate what’s about to happen. The difficult part is when they behave unpredictably. Good habits put the driver in a position to deal safely with an unexpected situation.
Knowing what to do in an emergency situation is crucial. If something happens, and the driver can’t stop in time, the driver needs to avoid a collision with another vehicle or pedestrian. This can be anything from an accident on the highway to an icy city street.
It’s essential to know what’s happening around the truck and stay calm. Generally truckers will try to keep traffic from lingering beside the truck, on the highway, as the shoulder or left lane is a preferred escape if its clear.
A typical highway tractor & dry van is between 70 -72′ and upwards of 80k LB with plenty of blind spots. We need room. Room to turn and room to stop.
Proper following distances will keep a driver out of an emergency situation. Distance gives you time to slow or stop under normal conditions. Proper distance will keep a driver out of an accident if traffic comes to an abrupt stop.
Read Their Behavior
A lot can be determined by subtle actions of other drivers and you can assess if they may do something dangerous.
If a driver is tail gating, they’re aggressive and may cut off a truck or make a turn from the wrong lane. A car hanging out behind and just off the bumper of a truck may mean they’re apprehensive or intimidated by a large vehicle and may be unpredictable or hold on to the left lane too long after passing and create a line of traffic in the left lane beside the truck. A car hanging out beside the truck in the left lane may not be too observant or doesn’t have any understanding of trucks or blind spots and can cut off the truck or hang out in other blind spots.
Professional drivers are always making judgements and prepared for the worst. When drivers practice good habits they’re in a better position to stay out of an accident.