Whether you drive a haul truck, a bus, or a heavy vehicle transporter for your job, safe driving should be a high priority. After all, you’re navigating a multi-ton vehicle on the road every day, sometimes with passengers! Your focus should be on providing a safe driving experience for yourself, any passengers, and other drivers on the road with you.
Most drivers learn about safe driving beginning long before receiving a license, but it’s easy to think you already know everything we need to and not refresh your memory. On the contrary, the more time you spend on the road, the more time you should take to ensure you know what you’re doing. In a setting where even a slight mistake can cause a significant accident, you can’t afford to take chances.
Simply put, defensive driving means not relying on other drivers to be perfect and watching out for signs of danger. Never fall into the trap of assuming that other drivers will give you the right-of-way, slow down in time, or otherwise defer to you on the road. Stay alert and watch what other drivers are doing. Don’t rely on them to do the right thing every time.
Pro Tip: Driving a large vehicle gives you significant blind spots that mirrors can only partially cover. Always check your blind spots before turning or changing lanes.
The umbrella term “distracted driving” encompasses several different hindrances you may experience while driving, most of which pose similar levels of difficulty. Potentially dangerous distractions while driving include:
- Cell phones
- Alcohol or drug use
- Sleep deprivation
- Unsecured freight
- Inclement weather
While a few of these distractions are considered illegal while driving, even the legal ones can take your attention off the road long enough to cause an accident. You simply can’t afford any significant distractions when you’re driving a large vehicle.
After an Accident
Finally, despite your best efforts, accidents will sometimes occur. The best thing to do in that situation is to ensure you respond appropriately.
After an accident has occurred, pull your vehicle as far off to the side of the road as you can and turn on your hazard lights. Exit your vehicle carefully. Once you’re safely outside, investigate the damage done and speak with the other driver and your employer about how to handle insurance issues. Insurance decisions will obviously vary depending on who was at fault and how badly either vehicle was damaged. But you can worry about insurance later. In the moment, make sure you and any passengers you’re carrying are safe and uninjured.
Safe Driving Tips for Driving Careers
Truck drivers and bus drivers alike have an obligation to their clients, their passengers, and themselves to maintain safe driving habits at all times. In addition to common-sense measures off the road (like keeping your vehicle well-maintained), you should take a closer look at your current driving habits and see where you can improve. The better a driver you are, the safer you’ll be during a workday.