The Fundamentals of Defensive Truck Driving

The Fundamentals of Defensive Truck Driving

Driving a huge truck on a highway is a serious job. Controlling and maneuvering big trucks and tractor-trailers on the road requires good driving skills, high concentration and defensive driving skill. Even the most skilled truck drivers understand that there is a danger of getting into a road accident anytime, and it is something beyond their control. By observing the fundamental rules about defensive driving, trucking companies in Atlanta can help prevent more serious road accidents involving their fleet. As part of your freight management, emphasize these rules of defensive truck driving for all your truck drivers to follow.

  1. Observe appropriate spacing between vehicles on the road

Keeping a safe distance between your truck and the vehicle ahead of you is a good rule of thumb in defensive driving. Observe the three-second rule when driving at higher speeds, which means that you must ensure that at least three seconds must pass from the time the vehicle in front of your truck reaches a specific point and the time that you reach the same spot. When driving in bad weather, it is best to maintain at least a four-second distance. Hitting the truck brakes usually takes a few seconds longer to stop the truck, so it is best to follow the 10-second rule when driving on an icy road. This is an essential policy to observe for defensive driving and will help the driver keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front and allow time to react appropriately in case something goes wrong.

  1. Spot the lane changers

Defensive driving usually requires the driver to drive smarter and become more observant not only of his own driving behavior, but also that of other drivers on the road. Road accidents usually happen whenever vehicles change lanes. Some drivers can become irresponsible about changing lanes by dangerously darting in and out of traffic. Make sure to spot drivers like this by focusing beyond the vehicle in front of you and by regularly monitoring your rear and side-view mirrors to have a better look at the other vehicles behind you. If drivers who change lanes fast want to cut in front of you, it is always best to give way by slowing down your speed and letting them pass you.

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There are also drivers who never check their blind spots when changing lanes, and they can be as problematic as those who recklessly dart from one lane to another. The best way to avoid colliding with  blind-lane changers is to avoid driving in their blind spot. If there is a need to overtake them, make sure the driver of the vehicle sees you by sounding your horn and then accelerating the truck to a position parallel to the other vehicle. Periodically using your horn can save you from the danger of collision and should always be practiced in defensive driving.

  1. Keep your composure

Defensive driving is not only about your driving skills. It may also involve your attitude toward other drivers on the road. Truck drivers are susceptible to road rage as are other drivers, so whenever you find yourself in a situation where another driver shows bad driving behavior, make sure to maintain your composure and give some space between your truck and the other vehicle. Getting angry or emotional can have an impact on your driving behavior, and it can put you at risk for accidents.

  1. Keep an eye on intersections

The intersection can also be a road hazard. It is always prudent to anticipate that there will be cars driving through a T intersection. You must assume that accidents may occur any time, so make sure to drive at a slow speed as you approach one. Look both ways before you finally cross at a congested intersection. Maneuvering a large truck in the middle of a busy street can be difficult. Your defensive driving should include observing the proper timing when getting around vehicles and knowing when to swerve to avoid hitting other cars.

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