Getting behind the wheel of a commercial truck can be daunting, no matter how well you did in training. It’s easy to make mistakes that more seasoned drivers won’t. Of course, if the veterans aren’t careful, they can make rookie mistakes, too.
In order to be as safe as possible on the road, and to have a long career as a commercial truck driver, you’ll need to avoid these rookie mistakes.
- Never skip the pre-trip inspection. Check, double check, and then triple check.
- Pay attention to road signs. Speed limits, exit signs, lane restrictions, and more – they’re all important. Watching them will keep you safe and on your route.
- Don’t pass at the last moment. Your truck may be 70 feet long and hauling several tons of cargo. Passing at the last minute is going to scare the other driver and potentially cause an accident.
- Drive at the posted speed limit, and in bad weather, slow down or stop.
- Watch your turns and remember your trailer behind you. Don’t take corners that are too tight and give yourself plenty of room to navigate the turn without hitting anyone around you.
- Use your air horn to get the attention of someone pushing into your lane. It’s much quicker and easier than trying to maneuver your truck out of the way, especially when all the lanes around you are filled with traffic.
- Don’t panic while on the on-ramps. When other cars are merging onto the highway do nothing and hold steady or slow down. Most of the time, the smaller cars will speed up quickly and get ahead of you.
- Never take curves too fast. Slow and steady will avoid an accident.
- Know your trailer and truck clearance and be mindful of low clearance signs, especially bridges.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. Both are career-enders and the cause of too many accidents.
- Follow the rules of the road and drive safely at all times. This might mean you’re going slower than you think you should, but it’s better to slow down and take it easy than it is to explain how you got into an accident.
When you’re new, some mistakes are easy to make. As you gain more experience on the road, it’s easy to overlook important details. Be mindful of your position on the road and what you’re hauling, slow down, don’t rush, and keep these rookie mistakes in mind when you’re behind the wheel.
This Safety Meeting Series is brought to you by Gorilla Safety, the leading provider in fleet management services.