Tips for Defensive Driving On the Road
Try to keep a cushion of safety around your truck at all times. That is the front, rear and sides of your vehicle free from hazards. While this may not always be possible, it is good practice to attempt it whenever possible.
While in a big truck it is important to increase the following distance from what you normally would in a passenger vehicle. Maintain a minimum of 4 seconds of following distance while traveling 40mph or less. Increase the following distance to 5 seconds if you are traveling above 40mph. Road conditions also affect the following distance you should keep. In adverse weather, or on a gravel road, you will need to increase the following distance accordingly.
Check mirrors every 3 – 5 seconds. This will help you to identify a tailgater before they reach your blind spot.
Also it will be easier to identify a hazardous driver before the reach your vehicle.
If you do encounter a tailgater, then it is important to increase your following distance from the vehicle in front of you in order to allow for more breaking distance. It is crucial to prevent yourselves, to the best of your ability, from making an abrupt stop especially when there is a tailgater behind you.
Use your best judgment to determine whether or not you are in another driver’s blind spot. If you believe that you are, then be aware of the possibility of that driver turning abruptly and cutting you off. It is in your best interest to try to avoid the driver’s blind spot entirely if at all possible.
Get in the habit of scanning 12 – 15 seconds ahead. This is about a quarter mile on the open road, or 2 blocks in the city.
Know that intersections are most prone to accidents. When coming up to an intersection, there are many things that you should be aware of such as pedestrians, other vehicles, animals, etc. Always be at full awareness when coming upon an intersection.
If you encounter a jay walker, do not stop and wave them across. You could be unknowingly waving them into a dangerous situation and that is a liability that none of us want to face.
When stopping at an intersection, stop before the crosswalk to allow pedestrians to cross freely. If for whatever reason you happen to be in the crosswalk when you stop, do not back up. Your truck is too big to be aware of all the potential hazards that might be behind you at that particular moment. Just wait for the light to change and proceed from there.
If you have the opportunity to choose a turn lane when you come to an intersection, choose the one that allows you to have the widest turn path. This will allow for easier turning as well as letting you be aware of the cars on your side.
When stopping behind a vehicle leave a gap wide enough to allow you go around the car without backing up if need be. A car may stall out in front of you and this tip can save you from unnecessary headache if you need to get around.