Driving a commercial vehicle requires your full attention because it is a decision-making process. Time and motion studies have found that on average a commercial driver will make 160 driving decisions per mile. In a 500-mile tour of duty, that amounts to 80,000 driving decisions. In a 7-day period, that adds up to 560,000 decisions. In a 50-week time frame (leave out 2 weeks for vacation), that can amount to 28 million driving decisions.
What is a driving decision?
Examples are: checking mirrors, checking gauges, slowing, speeding up, signaling, executing a lane change, keeping the proper following distance, and proper lane positioning before a turn.
These decisions become second nature as a person has more driving experience.
There are influences that assist us in making driving decisions. They are the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), company policies and procedures, our own self interest, and our priorities and values. The FMCSR and a company’s policies and procedures assist us in making decisions because they tell us what we can do and what we cannot do. Our own self interest helps us make decisions by knowing that if we do not obey the laws and rules, we could be harmed in some way. Priorities assist us in making decisions on what is important at the time. Values influence our decisions because they are deeply held beliefs beyond compromise. Values are instilled in us by our parents, and there is no compromising of them.
When operating a commercial vehicle, the driver must make the correct decision in a split second. Failure to make the correct decision can put the motoring public and the commercial driver at risk of injury or death.
Knowledge and understanding of the types of car/truck crashes that can be catastrophic to the occupants of the automobile and the commercial driver is paramount in making the correct decisions behind the wheel.
Knowing the correct techniques to prevent catastrophic car/truck collisions should be a deeply held belief beyond compromise.