We all know the old sports adage that “defense wins championships.” However, did you know that defense also keeps truck drivers safe on the road? One of the essential parts of truck driver safety is learning how to drive defensively. Below, we’ll provide some great tips to ensure that you’re alert and taking the proper steps to become the safest trucker possible.
Look Towards the Future
One of the most important defensive driving tips for truck drivers is anticipation. We like to call this aiming high in steering. This means that you’re looking further down the road (literally) than you might think. Drivers are encouraged to look ahead of them because it takes longer for a big rig to stop than a car does. You’ll most likely be carrying a heavy load, so anticipating a car that might cross in front of you or a roadwork bottleneck is important during your travels. Defensive driving is often about being reactive so you can anticipate the obstacles that come at you.
Get the Big Picture
This tip goes hand in hand with looking towards the future. Not only do you want to keep an eye on what’s in front of you, but you also want to keep an eye on what’s around you by using your side and rearview mirrors. When changing lanes, you want to ensure that you don’t have any vehicles in your blind spots. You also want to make sure you’re not impeding someone who is trying to get into your lane. When in doubt, it’s best to just let them merge over.
Keep Your Eyes Moving
Another one of the most important defensive driving tips for truck drivers is to keep your eyes moving at all times. This means you will want to scan your mirrors and the road as often as possible. It’s no exaggeration when we say that a driving hazard can pop out from any direction. No matter how fast or slow you’re moving your eyes should constantly be scanning your surroundings to ensure that you’re taking into account all potential obstacles.
Leave Yourself an Out
Another crucial tip for defensive driving is making sure you have an out. No, I don’t mean an excuse for why you didn’t drop off that cargo on time. I’m talking about making sure you don’t get boxed in while driving. You want to make sure that you have an escape route. Driving while boxed in is very dangerous because you have limited mobility and it will be difficult to brake if the vehicle in front of you decides to stop suddenly.
Make Sure You’re Seen
One of the final and most important defensive driving tips for truck drivers is to make sure that other vehicles on the road see you. This means that you’re keeping your lights on at night so drivers in the dark know exactly where you are. This also includes using your turn signals when appropriate so others know where you’re heading or your four-ways if there is an emergency. Being seen isn’t just about lights though. You also want to brake as early as possible so those behind you know to do the same. Finally, you want to take wide turns to give yourself room and to let those around you to give you enough space to perform a proper turn.
What are some other tips that you have for practicing defensive driving? Let us know below! Also, if you’re looking for your next trucking job, feel free to check out the great careers we have available to truck drivers!