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Entries related to: driving-tips

Know the Hazards of Rollovers

Tractor-trailers typically have a high center of gravity, which makes them susceptible to rollover crashes. The key to preventing a rollover is for drivers to be able to recognize the hazards that increase the likelihood of a crash and apply the appropriate defense measures. Read the information below and ask yourself if there are actions you can take to improve your driving skills and reduce the risk of a rollover crash.
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Mirror Use: A Key to Safe Driving

Mirrors are an essential piece of safety equipment. A skilled driver knows how to use mirrors to help manage the space around the truck and avoid crashes while changing lanes, backing, turning, and during startups. Are there actions you can take to improve your driving skills and reduce the risk of a crash by using your truck’s mirrors more effectively? Read the information below. 
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Avoiding the Right Turn Squeeze

A right-turn squeeze crash can occur when a truck driver swings out into the left lane to make more room for a sharp, right-hand turn. In doing so, the truck driver leaves too much space between the truck and the curb. A driver behind the truck can mistake this maneuver as the truck changing lanes, and accelerate into the open lane even if the truck’s turn signal is flashing. As soon as the truck makes its sharp, right-hand turn, the trailing vehicle gets squeezed under the trailer or impacts the side of the truck. This type of crash can be prevented if truck drivers are able to recognize the hazards that increase the risk of a crash and take defensive measures to prevent it from happening. Read the information below and ask yourself if there are actions you can take to improve your driving skills and reduce the risk of a right-turn squeeze crash.
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The Essential 7 Driving Techniques

Truck drivers were asked to identify the driving skills they felt were most effective in preventing crashes. They agreed on the Essential 7 Driving Techniques. Read the information below and ask yourself how you can improve your driving style using these techniques. AVOID DISTRACTIONS Distracted driving involves any activity (including illness and fatigue) that diverts your attention away from driving. BEST PRACTICES: While driving, do not use mobile devices, eat or drink, daydream, etc. Make quick glances to mirrors. Get plenty of rest. If driving, avoid medications that can cause drowsiness. OBSERVE PROPER SPEED FOR CONDITIONS Adjust your speed based on the environment, such as traffic volume, snow, rain, road construction, etc. BEST PRACTICES: Reduce speed by at least 2-3 mph below the flow of traffic, not to exceed the posted speed limit. If conditions are unsafe to drive in, pull over until it is safe to continue. MAINTAIN PROPER FOLLOWING DISTANCE  Trucks need more distance to stop than passenger vehicles need. Creating more space between the truck and vehicles ahead gives you more time to perceive and react to hazards. BEST PRACTICES: Keep a minimum of six seconds behind the vehicle ahead and add one second more for each additional hazard present. BE ATTENTIVE TO THE ROAD AHEAD Traffic ahead can slow or stop abruptly; or a hazard may present itself unexpectedly, like a deer running across the road, requiring you to react suddenly. BEST PRACTICES: Be prepared to stop suddenly. Watch for traffic slowing or stopping ahead, then get off the accelerator immediately and apply controlled braking. REACT PROPERLY TO HAZARDS Each hazard you encounter is unique, and the proper reaction can range from adjusting your speed and increasing following distance to pulling over until it is safe to continue driving. BEST PRACTICES: A proper reaction to a hazard shouldn’t put other drivers at risk. Be alert. Recognize the hazard. Know the defense. YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY Forcing your vehicle into another driver’s lane, blocking oncoming traffic, or preventing merging traffic from entering are examples of failing to yield the right of way. BEST PRACTICES: Remember to drive defensively. Even if you have the right of way, yielding to other drivers may be necessary to prevent a crash. MAINTAIN ONE LANE Avoid frequent lane changes and stay in one lane as much as possible. BEST PRACTICES: Before changing lanes, make sure it is safe and legal to do so. Use the mirrors and “Lean and Look” method to ensure the adjacent lane is clear, activate the turn signal, and then move over gradually.   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.  © Great West Casualty Company 2019. The material in this publication is the property of Great West Casualty Company unless otherwise noted and may not be reproduced without its written consent by any person other than a current insured of Great West Casualty Company for business purposes. Insured should attribute use as follows: “© Great West Casualty Company 2019. Used with permission by Great West Casualty Company.” This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.
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What You Need To Know When Uncoupling A Trailer

Working around the truck can be just as dangerous to a driver as getting involved in a crash. One daily task a driver performs is uncoupling the trailer. This activity, if performed improperly, can result in shoulder and back strains, head injuries (e.g., cuts, abrasions, and concussions), as well as slips, trips, and falls. Read the information below, and determine if there are areas of your uncoupling technique that can be improved.
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Managing Space Around Your Truck

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 prevent a collision. Read the information below and ask yourself how you can improve your driving style in any of the hazard categories.
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Preventing Road Rage

Road rage is a criminal offense that can result in jail time. Road rage occurs when one driver commits an act of violence against another road user, such as a motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian. An act of violence can include using your vehicle as a weapon, dueling another vehicle in a reckless chase, or getting out of your vehicle and brandishing a weapon with the intent to injure another driver. Rarely is road rage triggered by a single incident. Rather, it is usually the last straw in a long series of stressors. Read the information below to learn how to protect yourself from others with road rage or identify when road rage is an issue for you. If it is, read below for suggestions to help you better control your behavior.
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Backing

Backing up a truck and hitting a stationary object is one of the most frequent causes of a loss for a trucking company. Read the information below on how to properly back into a straight parking spot, and ask yourself how you can improve your driving style to avoid a backing crash.
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Pattern Driving

Every driver has a pattern of driving. These patterns, or habits, can be good or bad, or more precisely, safe or unsafe. A driver who integrates safety into all of his/her driving decisions, regardless of the environment, has established a pattern of behavior that reduces the risk of a crash. However, pattern driving can refer to practicing unsafe behaviors as well, like speeding and tailgating. Pattern driving can also occur when a driver gets too comfortable with his/her route or routines and lets his/her guard down. This is common when drivers run dedicated lanes to the same customers day after day and become complacent. In this case, complacency becomes a distraction, and drivers lose focus on their surroundings and the potential hazards that could lead to a crash.
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Thou Shall Not Commit Tailgating

It's one of the deadliest sins out there on the road. Most drivers are irritated by someone driving closely behind them. If the tailgater is pulling a fully loaded 18-wheeler, it not only causes anger, but also can be downright terrifying. Many motorists who have been tailgated by a truck driver spend the next several days cursing the whole industry to anyone that will listen.  
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