Large trucks and buses face unique safety challenges. The following tips can help truck and bus drivers make a plan for road safety.
1. Check Your Blind Spots
Check mirrors every 8-10 seconds to be aware of vehicles entering your blind spots. Additionally, scan ahead on the road for about 15 seconds (equating to a quarter mile on interstates, or one to two blocks in cities) for traffic issues, work zones, and other dangers.
2. Be Aware of Long Stopping Distances
Large trucks and buses need the length of up to two football fields to stop safely. Driving too fast for weather or road conditions or failing to slow down for curves or ramps creates risks for rollovers and crashes. Be aware of long stopping distances and make careful wide turns.
3. Make Wide Turns Carefully
Trucks and buses need extra space and time to make wide, careful turns. Make turns carefully and signal appropriately.
4. Drive at a Safe Speed
Trucks and buses' large size and weight increase driving challenges, including acceleration, braking, and maneuverability. Large vehicles accelerate slower uphill and may gain speed quickly downhill. Drive at a safe speed, be aware of your surroundings, and never drive above the speed limit.
5. Stay Focused and Avoid Distracted Driving
Get enough rest; don’t drive when you’re fatigued, feeling ill, or using medications (including over-the-counter medicine) that make you drowsy or dizzy.
Texting is among the worst driving distractions. It is illegal for a CMV driver to text while driving, and mobile phones must be hands-free and dialed using no more than one button. Eating, drinking, interacting with a navigational device, reading maps, or any other activity that takes the focus off the road can also be distracting. If you must attend to an activity other than driving, exit the highway or pullover – it’s not worth the risk.
6. Buckle Up
Use your safety belt every time. Safety belts save lives, reduce injuries, and allow drivers to stay inside and control their vehicles in the event of a crash.
7. Always Use Your Signal
Signal and brake early to give other drivers plenty of time to notice your intent. If you must pull off the road, use flashers, reflective triangles, and/or road flares to alert approaching drivers.
8. Maintain Your Vehicle
Make sure pre-trip safety inspections are complete before hitting the road, particularly for tires and brakes. Check that your load is well-balanced and secure, as a shifting load can cause a rollover or loss of control. Loose materials can create road hazards.
9. Plan Your Trip in Advance
Stay up to date on weather and road conditions, detours, and mountainous routes to plan appropriate driving times. Be aware that non-commercial navigation systems and apps may not provide warnings of height and weight limitations and other CMV restrictions.
10. Practice Work Zone Safety
Work zones present many hazards, like lane shifts, sudden stops, uneven road surfaces, moving workers and equipment, etc. Unfortunately, fatal work zone crashes continue to rise – so it’s vital to take work zone safety seriously:
- Slow down, maintain extra following space, and be prepared to stop.
- Obey all work zone signs and signals.
- Scan ahead for changing traffic patterns, and be alert to vehicles entering your blind spots.
- Keep a sharp eye out for road workers and flag crews.