Managing the space around the truck is challenging. From driving in congested traffic to navigating a crowded parking lot, truck drivers must constantly track the hazards around them to help prevent a collision. Read the information below and ask yourself how you can improve your driving style in any of the hazard categories.
RECOGNIZE THE HAZARDS
Ice, mud, dirt, frost, and water can obstruct mirrors and windows, making it difficult to track the location of other vehicles. Road vibration can also knock mirrors out of alignment.
A truck’s blind spots are directly in front of the tractor, the tractor’s right-front passenger side (which is the most dangerous), both sides of the trailer from front to rear, and directly behind the trailer. Missing, damaged, or misaligned mirrors hinder the driver’s ability to monitor vehicles around the truck, while an inoperable turn signal prevents warning other drivers of an impending lane change.
Unsafe driver behaviors: Not checking mirrors regularly for vehicles and objects around the truck, tailgating, making abrupt lane changes, and relying solely on mirrors and blind-spot warning systems.
Unsafe non-driving behaviors: Failing to conduct a proper pre-trip inspection, not using spotters or checking behind the truck before backing, and not keeping windows and mirrors clean and adjusted properly.
KNOW THE DEFENSE
REACT PROPERLY TO HAZARDS
To avoid hazards around the truck, try the “Lean and Look” method to verify a vehicle is not hidden in the tractor’s right-front blind spot. Also, avoid frequent or abrupt lane changes. Stay in one lane as much as possible. If a lane change is needed, signal your intent well in advance. Lastly, remember to “Get Out And Look” (GOAL) behind the truck before backing. Always use a spotter or traffic control assistance. Never back up across traffic lanes without assistance.
MAINTAIN PROPER FOLLOWING DISTANCE
Keep a minimum of six seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. Add more space if additional hazards, such as traffic congestion, construction zones, rain, fog, etc., are present.
BE ATTENTIVE TO THE ROAD AHEAD
Make quick glances to side mirrors to monitor the traffic around the truck, then return your focus to the road ahead to avoid a rear-end crash.
Ensure turn signals on the tractor and trailer work properly. Clean windows and mirrors of debris, and ensure mirrors are adjusted properly before and during each trip. Make sure the backup beeper functions properly when the vehicle is in reverse.
Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.
The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent.
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