Have you recently acquired your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)? Good! You are on your way to becoming a professional truck driver. Becoming a successful professional truck driver only begins when you obtain your CDL. To become a top-earning professional in this field, it is important to be willing to learn and expand your skill set. Adopting a “safety first and always” approach to your career can play a major role in your success.
Today, we will share essential safety and defensive driving tips from which truck drivers of all experience levels can benefit throughout their careers.
Safety Tips When Driving Your Truck
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported over 510,000 accidents involving large trucks in its latest Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report. Practicing safe driving tips can help you avoid becoming a part of these statistics. Let’s take a look at a few defensive driving tips you should follow to stay safe on the open road.
1. Three Points of Contact
Always maintain three points of contact whenever you get in or out of your rig. Failing to practice this essential safety tip can result in slip and fall injuries. Even when you are in a hurry, following through with this tip will help you avoid risking unnecessary injuries.
2. Keep an Eye on Your Blind Spots
When on the open road, one of the biggest challenges is watching your blind spots. Always practice caution before you change lanes or take turns, ensuring that you maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. Only perform lane changes when it is necessary. When you do, ensure that you switch the turn signal on for three seconds while keeping an eye on the side mirrors and take seven seconds to change the lane.
3. Minimize Speed on Curves
When driving your truck around major bends and curves on the road, you will often see warning signs to slow down. The posted speed limit is typically still too fast, especially if you are driving a larger vehicle with heavy cargo. Ideally, you should slow down by around 10mph below the posted limit to minimize the risk of tipping the truck during those turns.
4. Scan Ahead
Staying alert all the time is critical to safe driving as a professional truck driver. You should scan the road ahead thoroughly to watch for other drivers around you when on the highway. Remember that you do not have the same maneuverability as motorists driving smaller vehicles. You need to keep ample space between you and other vehicles, so you have enough time to maneuver out of danger in case of unpredictable situations. You should scan for at least a block ahead of you when in the city.
5. Pay Attention to the Mirrors
Checking your mirrors often is an essential defensive driving tip for all motorists, especially professional truck drivers. Checking after every ten seconds is a good rule to follow. Regularly checking the mirrors can help you note any vehicles entering your blind spots.
Safety First and Always
At S.T.I. Trans, safety first and always is more than a saying — it is a core value all the professional truck drivers in our team embody. If you are new to the career and want to work with some of the best in the business, contact us to learn how you can become part of the S.T.I. Trans family.