Hauling a 53 foot trailer out on the interstate, surrounded by hundreds of other drivers, is not the place for a driver to get distracted. Throw in icy roads or drivers who aren’t paying attention to the big rigs and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
One of the easiest ways to avoid an accident while out on the road is to remain alert. Distractions come in many forms, and they should all be avoided.
How Bad Are The Distractions?
Recent studies have ranked the most common distractions for commercial drivers:
- Hands-free phones, thought by most to be better than hand-held phones, account for 32% of problems on the road.
- Hand-held devices account for 27%
- Eating and drinking make up 20% of problems
- Outside distractions are 11%
- Computers and TVs account for 10%.
How You Can Avoid Distractions
Some of this is going to seem fairly basic, but getting back to the basics of safe driving is the best way to avoid distractions – and accidents.
- Focus on the job. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
- Put away any and all devices: phones, tablets, and, apparently, computers and TVs.
- Know your route before you begin so you don’t have to deal with programming a navigation system while you’re out on the open road.
- Check your messages and make phone calls during fuel stops. Send text messages during this time, too. Avoid using the phone while behind the wheel.
- Obey all traffic signs. These aren’t recommendations, they’re the law. Be mindful of construction zones and slow-down on those off-ramps.
- Be careful in bad weather. It’s not just a way to avoid distraction, it’s also a requirement. You should be prepared to stop in really bad weather to keep yourself and other drivers safe on the road.
With a bit of effort, most accidents can be avoided. Making safety a priority while you’re out on the road is the first step in preventing problems and devastating accidents.