Living in today’s world without any type of vehicle is tough. However, a large number of vehicles means that there is always a chance some accidents will happen. Most media in the world are usually more focused on car accidents. You can find different types of tips for safe car driving on every corner. Yet, many articles/news related to safe truck driving.
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there were 6.7 million crashes (accidents) on highways in the U.S. in 2018, out of which 4.7 million involved light trucks and 0.5 million involved large trucks. This is an alarming statistic, as trucks are big brothers when it comes to crashes involving smaller brothers, cars, and motorcycles.
Being involved in a truck accident almost certainly results in injury for the occupants of other vehicles, some of which cause fatalities, and oftentimes, major legal cases, according to this website. This is simply because of physics and momentum. Momentum is a function of mass and velocity (momentum = mass x velocity). It follows that the higher the mass for the same velocity, the higher the momentum. So, you can see how the heavier vehicle, the truck, will damage a lighter vehicle, such as a motorcycle or a car.
If you can remember this simple momentum equation you will be well on your way to drive safely on the roads, especially when a truck is also sharing the same road.
Here are 9 tips that you can follow to drive safely on the highways, where trucks proliferate, without getting into an accident.
1. Respect the truck
The truck is as much a stakeholder as you are of the road. Truck drivers have more stringent rules than you, and more importantly, they have to drive the far heavier vehicle. On every driving parameter, the truck is more difficult to drive. Remember this, show empathy, and adapt your driving to be safe. The simple fact is you are not competing but sharing the road with the truck driver.
2. Exercise caution when passing
When passing a truck be extremely cautious, as the slipstream can affect your vehicle and make you unsteady. On multilane highways, you can perhaps pass well away from the truck, but on other roads, you have to be extra careful.
3. Understand the limitations of the truck
A truck has several limitations because of its bulk. Typically, a truck’s rear view mirror is useless, and the driver manages through side mirrors. It requires more leeway to make turns than your vehicle. It requires more time to come to a halt. Its acceleration or pickup is poor. It is difficult to gauge its speed. You have to factor all these in when you share the road with a truck.
4. Follow safety rules
It is better to follow safety rules on roads that are frequented by trucks. If you exceed speed limits as you near a truck, then you increase the risk of accidents, endangering your (and your co-passengers) safety, as well as your vehicle’s safety.
5. Don’t get distracted
You always need to be on your guard when driving near a truck. So, don’t get distracted by other activities, such as texting or watching your mobile. If you are using GPS use the audio mode.
6. Safe driving tips
Remember, while driving at night you may tend to use high beam headlights. Your high beam may reflect on the truck’s side mirrors, blinding the truck driver. While passing a truck, give a clear signal, so the truck driver is alerted. Do not overtake a truck when it is negotiating a vertical or horizontal curve. There are too many blinds all around. Avoid driving in between two trucks. Merge with care when trucks are involved.
7. Ignore your ego
Often, you can let your ego affect you if a truck breaks some traffic rules or does not give way. For that brief moment, don’t let your ego affect your driving. As mentioned earlier, the truck will cause you more harm if you have a crash with it. So, share the highway with other road users, including trucks, in an egalitarian fashion.
The roads, including highways, are meant to serve a purpose. They are not racing tracks and definitely not a place where you have to settle momentary ego disputes. If you follow road safety rules and learn to respect other road users, especially the heavier vehicles including trucks, you will almost eliminate the risk of accidents.
8. Make Quality Breaks
Well, the truck drivers usually do not drive their vehicle for a couple of hours. The destinations they need to pass are long and usually last for more than one day. Understandably, you want to accomplish your duties as soon as possible. However, being in a hurry and not making quality breaks can bring some huge consequences.
First of all, get a good night’s sleep before you even sit in your truck. Do not allow that you remain hungry while driving. If you can, bring some food together with you. However, if you don’t have a mini-fridge in your truck, you should take a break and eat.
Despite that, if you drive responsibly, there is always going to be enough time to sleep a little. It might happen that you can’t sleep for more than 5 hours. However, you must have enough rest to continue driving to the desired destination. Besides, a cup of coffee might be helpful in these cases.
9. Don’t Drink Alcohol
Well, this might be a basic piece of advice that you can hear often. However, we need to highlight it because many drivers have the wrong approach. They would often say “Nothing bad is going to happen if I drink one beer”. Believe it or not, even that amount of alcohol can reduce the level of your concentration. This especially counts if you are driving over the night or for a longer time. Avoid any type of drink that contains alcohol. If you feel thirsty, grab a bottle of water or fruit juice.