Driver Safety Tips
Passenger cars: Many crashes between heavy commercial trucks and passenger cars can be avoided by following these safety tips.
- Be extra alert as you approach a large truck. They behave very differently from cars.
- Avoid blind spots around trucks. If you can't see a truck's side mirrors, the truck driver can't see you. One-third of all crashes between large trucks and cars take place in the blind spots around a truck.
- Do not pass a truck on the right while the truck is turning right. Trucks must swing wide to the left to negotiate right turns safely, as the rear wheels follow a shorter path than the front wheels.
- Do not cut in front of any large vehicle, including a truck or a bus. Since they require much more distance to stop in comparison to cars, forcing a large vehicle to stop quickly can result in a fatal accident.
- Use the proper procedure to pass a large truck or bus on the highway. Accelerate slightly and maintain a consistent speed while passing. Wait until you can see the entire cab in your rear-view mirror before signaling and pulling in front of it.
- Observe a truck's turn signals before trying to pass it. If the truck appears to be starting a left turn, check which way the driver is signaling before passing the truck on the right.
- Give trucks at least four to six seconds of space in wet conditions and at highway speeds.
- Call authorities if you see unsafe driving.
- Do not cut off a truck in traffic or on the highway to reach your exit or turn.
Truckers: Consider these safety practices when you're out on the road.
PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Get plenty of rest before driving. Eat well and stay fit. Driver fatigue and lack of attention can significantly increase your risk of a crash. Hours of service violations are serious and can threaten your livelihood or even your life. Stay healthy and well rested, or don't drive!
PLEASE SLOW DOWN IN WORK ZONES
Watch out for highway construction. Stay alert. Almost one-third of work zone fatal crashes involved large trucks. Most of these crashes occurred during the day. Take your time going through work zones. Give yourself plenty of room, and expect the unexpected.
BE AWARE OF YOUR "NO-ZONE"
Other drivers may not be aware of the size of your blind spots. One-third of all crashes between large trucks and cars take place in the No-Zone areas around a truck. Adjust your mirrors and be vigilant in watching out for vehicles in the No-Zone.
ALWAYS KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
Always leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you. In rear-end collisions, regardless of the situation, if you hit someone from behind, you are considered "at fault." Large trucks, given their mass, have much greater stopping distances than 4-wheelers. Take advantage of your driving height, and anticipate hard braking situations.
ALWAYS MAINTAIN YOUR VEHICLE
It can save your life. Inspect your vehicle before each trip, and check your brakes regularly. Brake defects are the most frequently cited out-of-service inspection violation. Learn how to inspect your brakes, identify safety defects, and get them repaired before risking your life, and others, on the highway.
ALWAYS DRIVE DEFENSIVELY
Avoid aggressive drivers and maintain a safe speed. Two-thirds of all traffic fatalities may be caused by aggressive driving behaviors. Keep your distance and maintain a safe speed. The only thing excessive speed increases is your chance for a crash.
PLEASE FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT
Buckle up for safety and vehicle control. If you are in a crash, a seat belt will save your life and that of others. It will keep you in your seat and allow for you to maintain control of your truck. Increasing seat belt use is still the single most effective thing we can do to save lives and reduce injuries on our roadways.
ALWAYS WORK TO IMPROVE HIGHWAY SAFETY
On the highway, and through safety promotional events, be the professional! 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!
The drivers of large commercial vehicles, we believe, have at least as much responsibility for the safety of the public as do airline pilots. After all, we buy tickets to voluntarily get on commercial aircraft. However, all of us share the public roadways on a daily basis.
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