Safe driving is a trucker's first and most important job, because even a minor accident makes it impossible to get from Point A to Point B in a timely fashion. Simply put, you can't afford to increase safety risk with some bad behavior behind the wheel, and you should always strive to keep two hands on the wheel and two eyes on the road.
How can you do that? It starts with cultivating good habits and continually working to hone your safe driving skills, including the following:
1) Defensive driving
Defensive driving is the one skill that truckers should be employing at all times, according to Trusted Choice. That starts with assuming that other drivers will make mistakes on the road, mostly staying in your lane, giving yourself plenty of time to make decisions whenever possible and otherwise taking it slow and steady.
2) Patience behind the wheel
Part and parcel with defensive driving is ensuring you don't exceed the speed limit, Trusted Choice said. In fact, when operating a vehicle as big as yours, it might be wise to actually go a bit slower than the speed limit since you need more time to accelerate and come to a stop in a big rig.
3) Knowing when to hit the brakes
Especially if you're new to over the road trucking, you may not realize just how long it takes to go from a cruising speed to a complete stop, or even to slow down enough to take a highway exit ramp safely, according to GEICO. As such, always plan to brake well in advance of when you would need to in a smaller vehicle so you avoid an accident and give everyone around you plenty of time to react as well.
4) Avoiding distractions
Distracted driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving, so the best rule of thumb here is "don't do it at all," GEICO noted. That even includes fiddling with the radio or glancing at your phone.
5) Keeping your head on a swivel
Conditions on roads of all types can change in a heartbeat, and you need to be highly aware of your surroundings at all times, GEICO further advised. This starts with keeping your eyes on the road, but also regularly checking your mirrors and otherwise remaining attentive the entire time you're in the driver's seat.
6) Always adjusting for the road conditions
In a life on the road, you'll likely drive through all kinds of weather conditions — blistering heat, bitter cold, pouring rain, sunny days, ice, high winds and snow, according to the Law Offices of Andrew Myers. Each one will affect how you should drive your vehicle, and that means being ready to change your strategy as conditions dictate.
7) Remembering to buckle up
Truckers should always wear their seatbelts, and make sure they wear them properly, the Law Offices of Andrew Myers cautioned. That means any time the vehicle is in motion, the belt should be locked in, across the lap and over the shoulder as recommended by manufacturers. This is simply something that can't be brushed off as unimportant.
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