How to Be a Safe Driver

Are you new to truck driving? New to driving in general? Simply looking for a refresher or tips on how to keep you and drivers around you safe? Look no further than this article for tips, tricks, and reminders for staying safe on the roads–no matter who or where you are. Driving is a reliable and independent form of transportation that has given many the freedom to go where they please, but it can also be dangerous if you’re not aware of your surroundings and make the extra effort to be a safe driver. Read below for the best things to do while driving, things to watch out for, and other tips on how to be a safe driver.

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Cab Safety & Cat Safety

Safe driving starts with you: the driver. Not only are you the leader behind the wheel, but if you have any passengers, they’ll be counting on you to get them to your destination safely. 

If you have pets keeping you company on truck driving trips, too, it’s important to keep them safe. Maintaining your cab and all who are within it at any stage of your journey will keep you, your passengers, and your cargo intact!

Making sure you and your passengers are wearing your seatbelts at all times will significantly lessen any chance of injuries, and can even save your life. Making sure your passengers understand the gravity and consequences of a truck driving crash, and reminding them not to distract you while driving is also important. While you can remind human passengers not to cause distractions and to practice safe driving with seatbelts, with pets…not so much. Some truck driving companies allow truck drivers to bring pets with them on the road, which is great to combat loneliness and provide a little care into your routine. However, always strap your pet for their and your safety. As much as we love cuddling with our pets, its important that they’re not moving about the cab and causing distractions. Harnesses with seat belt attachments or crates to place within your cab can be purchased to make sure your pet stays buckled in, and won’t be able to get up and distract you while driving to get a few head scratches!

Passengers and pets aside, maintaining your vehicle’s integrity will also decrease the risk of accidents. Your cab and truck can slowly accumulate wear and tear from continual use, so it’s important to double-check before each trip. This can include making sure whatever you’re hauling is properly strapped down and stored, checking your truck’s engine, filling up on gas, checking antifreeze levels, cleaning the interior and exterior, and more. 

 Check Engine Light? More Like Check Engine Tonight!

Checking those around you and your vehicle is just the first step on how to be a safe driver. When you actually start driving is when driving can get tricky. Creating a pre-trip checklist can help you remember everything you need to check before you start driving, and when you begin your trip. If you’re about to embark on a longer trip than you usually complete, creating an extra list of what you may need in any situation could help you in a stitch. Moreover, planning long-haul trips out will help you stick to a schedule, and see where things could change or go awry. While driving through, consistently checking these things in your vehicle will help maintain your safety:

  • Blind spots
  • Rear view and side mirrors
  • Speed limit
  • Warning signs
  • Road signs 
  • Work zones

Driving Carefully

With a giant truck comes giant responsibilities. Because of the large size of semi-trucks, truck drivers have to be extra careful when navigating the roads. Making wider than usual turns than you would on a regular-sized vehicle–especially when hauling big cargo or lots of passengers–is needed for such a large truck. Using your turn signals is also a great way to keep other drivers safe. Other cars and travelers can see truck drivers, but you can’t always see them. Signaling with your turn signal beforehand when you switch lanes or make a wide turn will prepare other drivers on the road for what you’re about to do. Wider turns aren’t the only thing that can help you when learning how to be a safe driver. 

Driving at a safe speed and making sure you’re always driving the speed limit are an easy way to protect yourself and others. With higher speeds on highways and interstates, being sure to give yourself plenty of distance to break is just as essential as maintaining the speed limit; the larger the load, the more time needed to accelerate and decelerate. When trucking in bad weather, always make sure you take extra precautions like slowing down even more, or taking yourself off the road if it gets too bad or decreases visibility too much. Truck driving can be one of the most dangerous occupations, so taking extra precautions is never a bad idea!

Driving can be mentally and physically taxing, too, as you have to remain seated in the same position for hours on end with your eyes always on the road; but staying focused and aware of your surroundings is vital when being a safe and successful truck driver. As much fun as it is to listen to music or an audiobook when driving, always choose something that won’t be too much of a distraction. You can set a timer for your audiobook if you know how long you want to listen to it, or line up the songs you know you’ll want to listen to for however long you’ll want to listen to them so you won’t try and change the music and be distracted when a song you don’t like comes on. 

Want to Learn More about How to Be a Safe Driver?

Whether you’re a seasoned truck driver or just starting out, come learn how to be a safe driver with Truck Driver Institute. We’ll teach you everything you need to know to be a successful, safe driver as you begin your journey or freshen up your skills with new certifications. Contact us today to get started on earning your CDL and beginning your training.

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