Imagine you’re driving down the freeway and you hear a repeated bleeping from a horn. Then out of nowhere you see a car speeding up next to you to pass you. You’ve gotten stuck next to a crazy driver, swerving in and out of lanes, keeping up with you, trying to effect your driving.
So what do you do? Do you join that person in the road rage or do you shrug it off and let them pass? If you’re a safe truck driver, you try not to let this faze you, but it’s hard. V&S Midwest has chosen seven overlooked defensive truck driving tips to keep you safe on the road. These tips will hopefully lessen the likelihood of a developing situation.
Tips for Avoiding Defensive Truck Driving
Tip 1: Stay out of the way
You’re probably laughing at this tip. You’re a big truck, staying out of the way is close to impossible. However, one of the best things to do is by giving aggressive drivers plenty of room to get around you.
If another driver is endangering you or their actions are threatening, the best tactic is avoidance. There is a diversity of drivers on the road. They have different goals for being there, but like you, everyone is just trying to get somewhere, even if some are in more of a hurry. The best tactic is to let them do what they need to and stay out of their way.
Tip 2: Be aware of your surroundings
No driver is 100% safe. There’s always texting, application of lipstick, talking on cell phones, and often times when this is happening, the people doing one of the things is speeding. Keep an eye out for others – and also your own – bad habits.
One of the keys to safe truck driving is observing and responding to the unexpected things that other drivers do. As a truck driver, you should be scanning the road constantly, both ahead and behind.
Tip 3: Take a Zen-like approach
Be more of a supportive driver than an aggressive driver. Don’t join in their aggression or get too fixated on their driving. Be a smart, peaceful truck driver. Be safe and calm.
Tip 4: Don’t do unto others
Getting road rage from another driver can be dangerous to your health, well-being and other people around you. It can also add to the other drivers aggression which can ruin your day and their day. If you have a little bit of road rage, don’t take it out on others.
Tip 5: Overcome overconfidence
Overconfidence could be the root of defensive driving. We all think we’re good drivers and its all the other drivers out there that are dangerous. Examine your own driving behavior: slow down, obey traffic laws, and always wear a safety belt. If we all looked at those tips, highways would be a lot safer.
Tip 6: Take a refresher course
Your road habits decay the longer you drive, perhaps because you’re overconfident. Take a refresher course on defensive driving. A lot of trucking companies have this type of course, ask HR if yours is one of them.
These lessons can help your everyday life on the road and will give you ways to safely approach a stop sign or street entrance. The courses are valuable in many ways. Any money you spent on the course may end up saving you in payouts to speeding tickets or traffic misdemeanors.
Tip 7: Rest and refresh
Drowsy drivers annually cause about 56,000 crashes. This usually happens late at night or early in the morning. Shift workers whose sleep is disrupted by working at night or working long or irregular hours also face the same risks. Drowsy drivers can be just as dangerous as drunk drivers.
Make sure you get good nights sleep and don’t get on the road tired. Not only will rest keep you safe on the road, but it will also keep you healthy. Staying alert can save your life.