Being a truck driver is exciting and challenging. However, sometimes things simply don’t go according to plan. You might encounter weather conditions beyond your control, unexpected road hazards, or drivers who just don’t seem to pay attention. Even the simplest of situations can turn dangerous quickly, leaving you vulnerable to injury. But if you’re going to survive in this profession, you need to learn defensive driving techniques. These eight skills will help keep you safe behind the wheel and off the police blotter.
Learn how to read signs
You can easily find yourself lost in unfamiliar territory if you aren’t paying attention to your surroundings. And while it may be tempting to speed up when you see an easy opportunity like an exit ramp, that’s not always the best thing to do. Slow down and take extra time to examine your surroundings before turning onto those exits. If you feel like you’re approaching something hazardous, slow down even further. Being aware of your location allows you to react more effectively whenever danger strikes.
Practice emergency procedures
Every driver should know what their car’s emergency procedures are for any possible situation. While most people think about having their car towed only when they get into trouble on the side of the road, knowing these steps could save your life if you ever find yourself stranded in the wilderness. Your emergency kit needs to include a flashlight, jumper cables, blankets, water, and other items that would be useful when stranded out in the cold. Also make sure everyone in your family knows where all the first aid supplies are located in your car so they can provide care if necessary. This way, if someone from your group gets hurt, there won’t be any confusion as to whether or not you have adequate medical equipment and supplies.
Don’t become distracted
Distracted driving isn’t just dangerous for your passengers; It’s also dangerous for yourself. Being in charge of your own vehicle means you must maintain focus at all times. Remember, being attentive and alert behind the wheel is essential to avoiding injuries. Don’t let that crucial safety step be compromised by trying to answer calls or text messages on your phone. Always pull over to answer them instead.
Stay focused on the road
There’s nothing more frustrating than getting stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle. However , if you let your thoughts drift in the wrong direction, you could end up putting yourself and others at risk. Try setting your mind firmly on your driving rather than on your conversation with your friend. The same rules apply when listening to music or watching videos. When you hear or see something important happening outside your window, focus on the task at hand and don’t allow your mind to wander.
Maintain distance between vehicles
It seems simple enough: Keep your vehicle safely between the lines posted on the highway. But many drivers try to get too close to another vehicle without realizing that they’re doing anything other than creating traffic congestion. Make sure that you keep some space between your car and the one ahead of you, especially if you’re traveling on the freeway.
Know the laws around you
The Highway Code has specific information about speeding, lane changes, use of cruise controls, and other laws that should be followed. You don’t want to break the law because you didn’t realize it applied to your particular situation, but it’s always good to know your legal rights.
As mentioned above, you shouldn’t be texting or talking on the phone while driving. But sometimes we can’t avoid these things entirely. In fact, studies show that people who text while driving experience higher levels of distraction. So don’t do it. Instead, put your phone away altogether until you reach your destination.
Practice defensive maneuvers
If you’ve been practicing your defensive driving skills, you’ll notice that they don’t stop the moment you arrive at your destination. As long as you’re in traffic, you still need to keep your wits about you. Be aware of everything that happens around you, but don’t hesitate to change lanes if you think that you ’re approaching a hazard. Always look before you cross the street, and never cut anyone off.