The CB radio – some drivers swear by them and never turn them off, others rarely turn them on, and still others might not even have one.
If you’re old school enough to still listen to your CB radio, at least some of the time, you need to know when and if your CB could be a safety hazard. If you don’t have one, that could pose a risk, too.
What CB Radios are Good For
For anyone who doesn’t turn their radio on very often or hasn’t bothered to put one in, let’s discuss what they’re good for – and why some drivers never turn their CB off.
Emergency communications on Channel 9 – this station is overseen by the FCC and will let you know about construction zones, accidents on the road, and bad weather that you might be driving straight towards. This allows you to adjust your route or prepare to stop.
Highway talk will be on Channel 19 – this is going to be other drivers, mostly commercial truck drivers, out on the road. You’ll hear a little bit of everything:
- Drivers helping other drivers when they’re lost. You can share directions when you know the area.
- Road hazard warnings that might not be on Channel 9 – broken down vehicles, accidents, stopped traffic, you name it.
- Interesting and entertaining chatter – jokes, stories, and anything else people can think of to discuss. This will help you feel a little less alone and isolated out on the road.
- You can use it to let another driver in your sight know they have a flat tire or another problem.
- You can also use it to get emergency help for yourself when something goes wrong on the road.
When CB Radios Become Hazardous
When used properly, CB radios are helpful and entertaining, but as with anything, there are safety hazards to be aware of. If you don’t use it properly, you could easily be distracted while out on the road, leading to missed exits and turns (at best) or accidents and injuries (at worst). Listening to and participating in the back-and-forth banter on channel 19 is a great way to pass the time, until you let your focus drift from the road.
Like anything else you do while out on the road, you need to exercise caution while using your CB radio. Turning your CB radio on for a while and turning it off the moment you become bored or distracted may be helpful. Not having one or never turning it on aren’t necessarily the safest options because you could miss information or lose out on help right when you need it most.
This Safety Meeting Series is brought to you by Gorilla Safety, the leading provider in fleet management services.