Safety Tips: Defensive Driving for Truck Drivers

Strong Tie Insurance October 29, 2020 Commercial Truck Insurance

As we are sure that you know, driver safety is a vital component in the commercial trucking industry. Regardless of if you have affordable commercial trucking insurance, safety should never be an afterthought. One of the best ways to ensure that you are safely defensive driving at all times is by practicing defensive driving for truck drivers.

While defensive driving safely is easier said than done, it’s always a good idea to have a few extra tips that you can rely on. In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the most actionable defensive driving tips to help keep you safe at all times while on the road. If you’re looking for new and easy ways to keep your drivers, your fleets, and your company safe, continue reading below to learn how.

Defensive Driving Resources for Commercial Truck Drivers

Essentially, defensive driving for truck drivers revolves around the idea of anticipating and being prepared for anything that other drivers might do. While safety training strategies and defensive driving training may change from time to time, here are some of the most common tips that you can start best practices today.

Look Farther Ahead

Safe driving and defensive driving training recommend that a driver should look at least 10 to 15 seconds ahead of where they are to scan for potential hazards and anticipate where accidents may occur.

By looking further along than you typically would, you give yourself more time to react in the event of an accident. This is especially vital for drivers of large commercial trucks that aren’t able to respond as quickly as smaller passenger vehicles.

Keep Your Eyes Moving

Much like the tip mentioned above, another one of the most crucial defensive driving techniques for commercial truck drivers is to keep your eyes moving at all times. This also means you’ll want to scan your rearview and side mirrors more frequently.

Defensive driving hazards can pop out from any direction at a moment’s notice, which means no matter how fast or slow you’re going, your eyes should always be scanning the surrounding environment to ensure that you’re taking into account all hazards on the road.

Maintain a Safe Following Distance

Maintaining a safe following distance is another critical tip when it comes to defensive driving. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, drivers should maintain at least five seconds of following distance for commercial trucks traveling more than 40 miles per hour.

Leave Yourself an Out

Another critical tip about defensive driving that often goes unnoticed is leaving yourself an out in the event of an accident. This means you should try to develop a physical buffer between yourself and the vehicle in front of you, as well as cars on either side of you in case something unexpected occurs.

This will not only help you maneuver out of harm’s way if an accident occurs but may also help in preventing other accidents due to any sudden movements while traveling at high speeds.                        

Scan Intersections Before Entering

While most people tend to immediately start defensive driving when the light turns green, taking an extra moment to scan the nearby environment is a quick way to avoid unnecessary accidents.

However, there may be instances where other drivers run a red light or take part in distracted driving by something on the road, potentially resulting in an accident. Before accelerating through the stoplight, take an extra moment to look in all directions to ensure it is safe to pull ahead.

Go the Appropriate Speed

While most drivers often set their speed at the exact speed limit or slightly above, defensive driving might ask you to start driving a bit slower from time to time. Depending on road conditions, weather, visibility, traffic patterns, and what the vehicle is hauling, you may need to adjust your speed to slower than the posted speed limit says. Though it may make the trip slightly longer, ultimately, it’s a reasonable price to pay in return for better visibility and the ability to see accidents before they occur and keep you and other drivers safe.

Stay Alert and Engaged in Defensive Driving

When you’re on the road for extended periods of time, it can become easy for the mind to wander, especially if the driving becomes monotonous. To stay focused on defensive driving, experiment with different ways to keep your eyes moving and your mind engaged with the road in front of you. If you feel your mind and attention wandering, consider turning on your favorite music or podcast to keep yourself engaged.

Take a Break if You Feel Tired

Getting tired on the road happens to every everyone while driving but recognizing when you’re becoming tired is critical. If you feel yourself becoming tired, drowsy, or sluggish, find a safe environment to pull over and take a break or a quick nap.

Make Yourself Seen

One of the final and most essential defensive driving techniques for commercial truck drivers is to make sure that other drivers see you. This not only means keeping your lights on at night, so other drivers know exactly where you are, but also includes using turn signals when necessary so that others know where you’re heading and when you plan to do so.

Contact Strong Tie Insurance Today for Affordable Commercial Truck Insurance

Despite our best efforts, accidents always happen, and when they do, you need to be sure that you have adequate insurance coverage that will keep you protected.

For more than 20 years, Strong Tie Insurance has been in the business of protecting their customers. With our staff of financially reputable insurance underwriters, we strive to deliver our customers cheap commercial insurance rates and insurance premiums with no broker fees.

If your professional truck business is in need of affordable commercial truck insurance, contact us at Strong Tie Insurance today to learn more about how we can help.