For commercial drivers, the front seat is the office from which you provide a vital service – making sure parts and products get from point A to wherever they need to be.
And while the road offers great freedom, it also comes with the pressure of needing to deliver – day in and day out.
The following information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration dispels a number of myths regarding commercial driving.
Myth: Good truck drivers don’t need to wear seatbelts.
Reality: Your chances of being killed are almost 25 times higher if you are thrown from your vehicle during a crash. Safety belts can keep you from being tossed out a window, from being dragged on the road or from being crushed by your own vehicle or another.
Pay attention to driving conditions
Myth: Commercial vehicle drivers have experience driving in bad weather and can handle anything, so they can drive faster safely.
Reality: Adverse weather conditions contribute to 25 percent of speeding-related large-truck fatalities. Drivers should reduce their speed by one-third on wet roads and by half or more on snow-packed streets.
Put the brakes on speeding
Myth: Trucks should follow speed limits posted on curve warning signs and entrance/exit ramps.
Reality: Curve and entrance/exit ramp speed limits are intended for small vehicles, not large trucks. Studies show large trucks often lose control or roll over when entering a curve at a posted speed limit due to their high center of gravity.
Check and recheck blind spots
Myth: Other drivers know not to ride in the blind spots or “no zones” of commercial motor vehicles.
Reality: Never rely on other drivers to stay out of your blind spots; they may not be aware of the size of your vehicle’s “no zone.” Check your mirrors every 5-8 seconds as well as before you change lanes, turn or merge. This will help you keep track of changing traffic patterns around your truck.
Look down the road
Myth: Good truckers can slow down safely without much notice.
Reality: To safely slow down, a commercial motor vehicle driver should look at least 15 seconds ahead (a quarter-mile on the interstate and one-and-a-half blocks in the city). Paying attention to the road ahead helps avoid dangerous, abrupt braking situations.
Don’t drive drowsy
Myth: Drivers are used to getting little sleep and can safely stay awake by using distractions.
Reality: Research shows that being awake for 18 hours is comparable to having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent. It’s vital to your safety and the motorists around you to pay attention to signs of drowsiness: frequent yawning, heavy eyes and blurred vision.
CalArk Driven Safety