How To Drive Commercial Vehicles Safely

How To Drive Commercial Vehicles Safely

TGR Staff - 08/07/2023

Indeed, coming back home safely is every driver’s key priority. However, various hazards can make driving commercial vehicles like buses and trucks tricky. It’s no news that these automobiles face unique safety challenges like fog and snow. However, the good news is that you can increase your commercial driving safety by observing good habits. Here are a few you can consider for the best results.

  1. Plan your trip well

Planning your trip can help increase your safety substantially. It would help to stay alert about hazards such as restricted routes, harsh weather, and high-crime areas. Shipments are common targets for thieves who may inflict violent crimes on truck drivers. You can plan your stops to make your journey safer. As a tip, try to avoid dark areas and isolated locations. You’ll also find it helpful to steer clear of routes where traffic congestion is inconvenient. Factor in the weather conditions along your route when planning your trip, and ensure your route doesn’t include low-weight-limit bridges.

  1. Drive defensively

Defensive driving is one of your best bets to protect yourself from danger on the road. You don’t want to assume everyone on the road is cautious. Most truckers understand that motorists struggle to maneuver around big trucks safely. A University of Michigan Transportation Institute report revealed that about 81-91% of commercial vehicle crashes are caused by cars, not trucks. That means it’s important to always observe good defensive driving tips. Strive to maintain a safe following distance between cars. Observing your mirrors every few seconds can increase awareness of your surroundings. Also, monitor what is happening about a quarter mile ahead and consider slowing down if you sense unsafe traffic.

  1. Observe preventative maintenance schedules

The safety of any driver is also dependent on their vehicle. Trucks and buses that don't’ observe their maintenance schedules, such as brake pad inspection and wheel changes, are at higher risk of breaking down. Therefore, ensure you perform your maintenance routine to ensure your truck is in good condition before commencing your journey.  For instance, you should consider replacing your truck tyres if you notice some damage or they are old.  Whether you haul freight on the highway or navigate heavy loads through busy urban roads, regular upkeep, and preventative repairs will reduce your breakdowns and increase your safety.

  1. Prepare for emergencies

Events can unfold rapidly when you embark on a long trip, so truck drivers should always prepare for the worst-case scenarios, including breakdowns and poor driving conditions. It would help to stock your trailer with blankets and snacks to ensure you can pull off the road when waiting for vehicle repairs. 

  1. Always note long stopping distance

Long commercial vehicles, including trucks and buses, may require the length of two football fields to stop safely. That means speeding too fast and failing to slow for curves can increase your risks of crashes and rollovers. It’s important to take note of long stopping distances and negotiate wide turns.

  1. Always wear your seatbelt

Fatal crashes are rising; not buckling up is a common key contributor. You must wear your seatbelt each time you get behind the steering wheel. Seat belts are designed to reduce injuries, save life, and allow you to control your vehicle better during crashes.