There are many factors and characteristics that make a commercial vehicle or large truck driver more likely to get into an accident. However, many of the common causes of commercial vehicle accidents can be prevented. Do you want to learn how you can be a better driver when you are driving commercial vehicles?
Keep reading these 7 safe driving tips for operating commercial vehicles safely to avoid a car accident.
1. Avoid All Distractions
To stay safe while driving any commercial vehicle, the most important tip to stay safe and prevent truck accidents is to remove all distractions. While using your phone is the most common form of distracted driving, there are many other distractions that most drivers do not think about.
Even if you are doing a quick delivery for your company or if you are in a work truck, something as small as changing the station on your radio can result in a crash. One way to avoid distracted driving is to turn off any unnecessary devices, use hands-free navigation, and even by preventing daydreaming while you drive.
Another common form of distracted driving is eating while you drive. Rather than eating your lunch in your car as you make deliveries or driving across the state, make sure you take a break to avoid food-related distractions.
2. Take Scheduled Breaks
Something vital for commercial fleet drivers to stay safe is to take their scheduled breaks. Many long-haul trucking companies will have policies that clearly outline when drivers need to take breaks.
In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, also known as the FMCSA, mandates the Hours of Service (HOS) that a driver can work each day. They are required to take breaks to clear their minds and to stay safe while driving.
Taking breaks when driving long distances can help you stay alert and can prevent any accidents from occurring.
3. Understand Speed Limits
Speed limits are there for a reason. When you do not follow the speed limit, you cannot react as quickly, and the chances of an accident go up. This is true for any vehicle, but commercial vehicles especially need extra time to slow down.
Often, roads or highways will have a separate speed limit for large trucks or other commercial vehicles. Make sure you stick to this speed limit so you can stay safer and avoid any accidents or speeding tickets.
4. Slow Down On Curves
Something else that any commercial vehicle needs to understand to stay safe is to slow down on curves. When you are driving a truck that is taller and heavier than the average vehicle, it has a higher risk of tipping or rolling due to the change in your truck’s center of gravity.
Rollover crashes are more dangerous than other types of accidents. In fact, they are more likely to result in fatalities. To prevent these accidents, make sure you always slow down as you enter an on-ramp, when you turn onto another street, or even on a curvy road.
5. Understand Weather Concerns
Many commercial drivers feel as though their larger vehicles are safer in harsh weather and may also feel like they don’t have to worry about weather-related crashes. However, many truck drivers crash due to dangerous weather conditions like snow or ice.
When you are a long-distance truck driver, it is especially important to understand the weather conditions in other parts of the country and be prepared to drive in these conditions. For example, if you live in a part of the country that rarely has snow and you are caught in a snowstorm when you are driving across the country, make sure you know the proper procedures to follow to stay safe in this weather condition.
6. Maintain Enough Stopping Distance
Something that every driver needs to consider, especially large truck drivers, is how much time they need to stop their vehicle. Large vehicles have more momentum and may require more distance to come to a full stop.
By ensuring that you have enough stopping distance between your commercial vehicle and other cars on the road, you can prevent any collisions. This is especially important when driving in traffic, as people may stop unpredictably.
7. Always Wear a Seatbelt
Finally, the easiest way for truck drivers to stay safe is to always wear a seatbelt. A CDC report showed that 14 percent of long-haul truck drivers do not always wear a seatbelt and that many of them never wear a seat belt.
While seat belts do not prevent crashes, they can help prevent injuries and even death in the event of an accident. In fact, according to the CDC, seat belts can reduce the risk of death by 45 percent and serious injury by 50 percent.
It also keeps you from being ejected from your commercial vehicle in the event of an accident. Whenever you are driving any vehicle, commercial vehicle or not, make sure you are wearing a seat belt to stay safe.
Accident While Driving Commercial Vehicles? Get Help Today
While there are many things you can do to stay safe while driving commercial vehicles, you may still find yourself in an accident. Whether you are driving a company delivery truck or a long-haul truck driver, you can find help after an accident!
If you need help understanding automobile law or getting help after a commercial accident, Georgia Auto Law can help! Contact our team after your commercial vehicle accident and see how our team can help you recover financially, physically, and more.