Although commercial vehicle drivers are trained professionally, they too can make mistakes or get in the habit of driving carelessly.
Just as passengers need to practice appropriate safety measures, the drivers of these automobiles are ultimately responsible for the safety while on the road. Brushing up on “good habits” such as getting enough rest, keeping your distance behind another vehicle, and properly maintaining your truck or bus can save your life and the lives of others. Review these very important safety tips to ensure a safe ride:
- Take care of yourself! The most important part of a moving truck or bus is the driver! Get plenty of rest before getting behind the wheel. Eat well and stay fit. Remember, hours of service violations are serious and can threaten your livelihood or even your life. Stay healthy and well rested, or don’t drive!
- Always maintain your vehicle. Inspect your vehicle before each trip and check your brakes regularly. Learn how to inspect your brakes, identify safety defects, and get them repaired before risking your life and others on the highway.
- Be aware of your “NO-ZONE”. Other drivers may not be aware of the size of your truck’s blind spots. Be vigilant in watching out for vehicles in the No-Zone. The No-Zone represents the danger areas, or blind spots, around trucks and buses where crashes are more likely to occur. One-third of all crashes between large trucks and cars take place in the No-Zone.
- Slow down in work zones. Watch out for highway construction. Stay alert. Work zone crashes are more likely to happen during the day. Almost one-third of fatal crashes in work zones involved large trucks. Take your time going through work zones and give yourself plenty of room. Expect the unexpected!
- Always keep your distance. Always leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you hit someone from behind, you are typically considered “at fault,” regardless of the situation. Large trucks require more stopping distances than other vehicles. Take advantage of your driving height, and anticipate braking situations.
- Fasten your seat belt. Buckle up for safety and control. If you are in a crash, a seat belt can save your life and those around you. It will keep you in your seat and allow you to maintain control of your truck or bus. A major cause of truck and bus driver fatalities involves being ejected from the vehicle. Wearing seat belts is still the single most effective thing all drivers can do to save lives and reduce injures on our roadways.
- Always drive defensively. Avoid aggressive drivers! It’s estimated that each year two-thirds of all traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving behaviors. Keep your distance and maintain a safe speed. The only thing speed will increase is your chance for a crash.
- Work to help yourselves. Be the professional on the highway and at safety events! Help stranded motorists; notify traffic safety agencies of crashes, unsafe drivers, unsafe roadway conditions, and other situations that can lead to crashes. Join a “Highway Watch” program, if available in your state. Your participation in public safety events and your performance on the highway can change public perception!
- Tell your local Department of Transportation what is wrong. If you know of unsafe situations, inform the U.S. Department of Transportation. This includes unsafe companies, unsafe drivers, unsafe roadways, and unsafe vehicles. The following “hotlines” are maintained for your protection. Please call them to help make the roads safer and your job easier.
**FMCSA Driver Hotline: 1-888-DOT-SAFT (368-7238)
**NHTSA Vehicle Hotline: 1-888-327-4236
Increase the confidence in your driving skills by abiding by traffic laws and staying well versed in safety measures. When you gain knowledge, you must utilize it in a beneficial way. In this case, use your safety knowledge to drive better and safer!