If you’ve never driven a truck before and are planning on giving it a try, consider the differences between driving a car and driving a truck. No matter how experienced you are at driving a vehicle, operating a truck comes with several other challenges that you don’t necessarily experience when driving a car. Following a few tips that specifically apply to drive a truck will assure the safety of you and other people on the road.
1. Stay Alert
Be tuned in to everything around you at all times. Being aware of who is in front, beside, and trailing behind you and how close they are following, will help you avoid making lane switches or braking too abruptly at a time that could cause an accident. If you do happen to get into an accident, remain calm and try to find a place that’s a safe distance away from oncoming traffic until the police arrive. You will later need help to get truck accident compensation and make sure that the right people are held accountable. Your lawyers will work to see that you are compensated fairly.
Never drive without getting enough sleep, as drowsiness will inhibit you from remaining fully aware of your surroundings. Most importantly, avoid distractions that would require you to take your eyes off the road, such as cell phones, the radio, or other passengers.
2. Slow it Down
Traveling the speed limit is acceptable and advised. However, driving a little bit slower, especially around sharp curves or down steep inclines, is a better habit to practice. Controlling a truck when it’s moving at high speed can be more of a challenge, and is most likely why the rollover and fatality rate in automobile accidents is higher for trucks and SUVs. Trucks weigh a lot more than cars and thus travel with more momentum. Keep this in mind when considering your speed.
3. Maintain Space
Referring back to point two, trucks travel with more force because of how heavy they are and require more time to slow down. With this in mind, always maintain a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. This will give you “cushion space” for if another driver slams on the brakes.
4. Avoid Unnecessary Lane Switches
Keep lane changes to a minimum. People tend to get irritated with slow-moving trucks and will aggressively bob and weave to get around you, which jeopardizes your safety. Avoid those risks by sticking to one lane. When you switch lanes, always practice safe passing by maintaining a safe speed and passing on the left side. This will allow drivers to see you better and adjust their speed to let you over.
5. Keep Maintenance in Check
A truck malfunction on the road could open you up to a number of possible accidents. Staying on top of your truck’s maintenance will remove this vulnerability from the equation. Performing regular maintenance will not only help you avoid accidents, but it will also ensure a longer lifespan of your truck. Kill two birds with one stone by always monitoring your check engine light and paying a visit to your mechanic.
6. Take Extra Caution in Harsh Weather Conditions
Weather conditions affect your ability to control and maneuver your truck immensely and must be respected at all costs. Rain and snow make the roads slippery and could cause you to hydroplane and collide with other vehicles. Fog and sun glare impact your vision, causing you to run off the road and into someone or something else. Heed these characteristics of weather while driving to ensure a safe journey.
7. Never Drive Under Mind-Altering Substances
Everyone knows the terrible dangers of driving after drinking alcohol or doing drugs, but remember that drugs are anything that affects the way your mind or body functions. Taking something as mundane as allergy medicine could make you drowsy and blur your focus. Avoid any substance that might over-relax your mind or body that could interfere with your attention or judgment.
8. Adhere to Driving Laws
The reason why there are separate classes of licenses is that the laws slightly differ between all vehicles. It goes without saying that drivers should always wear their seatbelt when driving, but make sure you’re entirely up to date on all the laws for driving a truck. The laws are there for your protection and will minimize the chance of accidents and injuries if closely followed.
Driving a truck comes with many advantages and can be considered a great skill to have on your repertoire. Minding the various nuances that come with it will surely minimize the risk of accidents and secure your safety. So, if you’re thinking about getting behind the wheel of a truck, make sure to adhere to the laws and take these simple precautions.