Four Things a Truck Driver Should Do While Driving
If you’re a trucking school student, you no doubt have already heard that safety is a truck driver’s best friend out on the road. There is no more important part of the job than the driver operating a big truck than operating the vehicle safely, and it is the truck driver’s first duty behind the wheel.
The trucking community is a good resource that offers reminders to drivers on the road to stay safe. What better time to begin absorbing that information and offering yourself reminders than as a trucking student? A video from the truck driving website Smart-Trucking.com outlines things a truck driver should do while driving. As a trucking student, this is key information, so getting it into your head is important to your success.
- 1. Look as far down the road as you can. Anticipate potential trouble by staying aware of what is going on up ahead. Big trucks stop more slowly than smaller cars and trucks, so you need a greater stopping distance, especially in severe weather. By looking ahead, you can see potential problems developing and avoid making a bad situation worse.
- 2. Look for an escape route. Keep a lookout on either side of you at all times in case an accident, stalled vehicle, or some other hazard. If you need to get out of the way quickly, it’s better to know whether there are other vehicles on either side of you if you need to move quickly. Always be checking your sides, and know if a vehicle is bearing down on you. “That’s not to say you shouldn’t check it constantly, because you should,” the video’s host says, “but I like to keep an eye on it.”
- 3. Maintain a safety circle. Keep yourself in an open area whenever possible. Try to keep yourself separated from the pack and avoid nestling yourself in the middle of a group of vehicles. Of course, that can be difficult when cars swarm around you, which they tend to do, but do your best to stay out in the open.
- 4. Check your mirrors often. There are two reasons for this: first, to check traffic as it approaches. Second, to ensure there are no problems with your truck or trailer that is visible from the outside. If you, for instance, have a flat tire, you may see it from your mirrors, but may not notice a change in the way the truck is riding.
Instructional and self-help videos like this are common around the Internet, particularly on sites like YouTube. They can provide a great supplement to truck driving students in their education, and can offer them one more way to learn and be exposed to the truck driving lifestyle while they are not physically in the cab or in a classroom. Do yourself a solid and track some down to watch on a regular basis.
Mike Demars is a 28-year trucking veteran, as well as a graduate of New England Tractor Trailer Training School with well over a million miles logged on the road. Prior to being the Regional Director of Safety & Training for our Connecticut locations, Mike spent over a decade on the road as an owner/operator of a long haul transportation company and previously managed drivers as a Driver Manager and Safety Director. He has achieved the level of Master Instructor and holds his certificate in Collision Avoidance, and is often sought as an industry expert to discuss practices within the field and to testify in transportation and trucking matters.