Driving a truck professionally can be a dangerous job if the right techniques aren’t employed. Here are useful driving tips from professionals.
Leave A Safe Space Cushion
Always leave a “buffer zone” or “cushion” in front of and around your vehicle. Having ample space especially in front of your truck will give you a chance to stop or slow down when it becomes necessary, reducing the risk of potential accidents. Remember to factor in your truck’s weight and height.
Planning trips will have you better prepared for unexpected events or situations on the road. For example, checking weather conditions prior to departure will psych you up to drive in foul weather. Road conditions change with temperatures, so knowing what to expect and taking the necessary precautions could keep you and others on the road safe.
Also, planning breaks in order to stretch or rest and time for food is important. A tired, hungry driver is a poor driver, a potential danger on the road.
Studies show that truckers often drive without wearing their seatbelt. Not only is this dangerous, but it is also illegal. Wearing a seatbelt is the best wear to reduce injury in case of an unfortunate accident. An estimated 40% of crash-related deaths happen every year from not strapping in a seatbelt.
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The Wide Turn
Trucks are large and have a high center of gravity that prevents them from making sharp turns or right-hand turns as easily as regular cars without tipping over. So you should know what is a wide turn, how to properly do it and what are the consequences of not doing it properly. For a truck driver to make a right turn, they must swing wide to the left. This is disastrous without the correct technique.
Here’s how to make a wide turn:
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Signal the other vehicles
Scan for pedestrians and cyclists
Reduce your speed as you prepare to turn, staying as far to the right as possible
Avoid sweeping turns
This is a most important driving tip, slow down. Trucks don’t bend and curve like sports cars, so speeding is not the goal. Take corners, ramps, and turns slowly and carefully. Slow down when making a turn on a curvy road, at an off-ramp, or to adjust for lane changes. Slowing down will keep you in control of the truck. It will prevent you from tipping over.
Use A GPS
A trucker’s GPS is a handy tool for driving, especially when traveling to an unfamiliar location. A GPS designed specifically for truckers eases stress for the driver by showing vital information that guides. For example, such information includes which exit to take, when to change lanes, traffic reports, and distance before exiting. However, do not rely 100% on the GPS. It is best to verify the information by comparing it with multiple other sources, like a physical map.
Driving a truck doesn’t have to be difficult or dangerous if you follow the proper driving techniques and safety protocols. Wearing a seatbelt, learning the proper way to turn, slowing down, planning trips, and using GPS all add up to keep you and everyone else on the road from harm’s way.