How good of a driver are you? While most truckers will answer that they are excellent drivers, take a moment to think about your last trip. Were you always paying close attention to the road and were you driving with a defensive mindset? While this is always the goal, many truckers, new and veteran alike, can use a refresher now and then that helps them remember just how important defensive driving is when they are behind the wheel of such a large and powerful vehicle.
When Should You Reduce Speed?
Going too fast is one of the biggest problems that truckers face. Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that speed was responsible for large truck accidents – they accounted for 23% of them. They want to deliver their loads as quickly as they can, but they should never break the law to do it. In addition, there are a number of times when actually reducing speed is essential. Whenever the road and weather conditions are bad, you need to slow the vehicle. If the roads are wet, reduce the speed by a third. If they are covered with snow, cut the speed in half. Remember that you are a large and heavy vehicle, and it will take you even more time to stop in bad conditions so it is important to remember defensive driving.
Also, make sure that you enter curves and corners slowly. Trucks have a higher center of gravity, and even if they are abiding by the recommended speed limit, it could still be too fast and cause the truck to roll. Slow down when entering on and off ramps as well.
Use Your Signals With Defensive Driving
Just because you are driving a large vehicle, it does not always mean that others on the road are paying attention to you. Always use your signals to show your intentions when changing lanes or making turns. Give plenty of warning with the signal.
Beware of Other Drivers
You have control over what you do in your heavy truck while on the road, but you cannot control the actions of other people. Other drivers may be driving recklessly, speeding, or cutting in front of you. Be calm, and always be observant of what the other drivers are doing. Adjust to account for their actions and defensive driving.