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5 Tips for Freight Truck Defensive Driving

freight truck defensive driving

Follow these defensive driving tips to keep you safe on the road.

When driving, the best offense is a good defense. Defensive driving means being prepared for any potential obstacles or conditions. Remaining aware of your surroundings and being ready for the unexpected can help keep you, your truck, your cargo, and other motorists safe during your extensive time spent on the road. By following the tips below, you can reduce your risks and improve your freight truck driving skills while maintaining safety for all. 

Minimizing Distractions

Every driver needs to be connected to the outside world but not to the point where it becomes a distraction. You should do what you can to minimize the frequency of beeping phone notifications or non-critical calls coming in during your driving hours. By eliminating distractions from the beginning, you make defensive driving much more manageable. 

Stay Healthy on the Road

Doing what you can to keep your mental and physical health in good condition is as essential for safe and defensive driving as skills and experience. Make sure you get enough sleep, which helps you pay attention while driving long distances. Eat right and exercise when you can to increase your stamina and energy. You should also, of course, wear your seat belt during every drive and pull over if you start to feel tired and unfocused. 

Expect the Unexpected

One of the keys to defensive driving is being aware of motorists around you and knowing your space cushion in relation to other vehicles. Keep your eyes ahead of you on the road, but notice those around you. Anticipate what other drivers may do that could impact your driving. For instance, recognizing when a car might attempt to change lanes can help you prepare for their movement even if they fail to signal. Being prepared to make adjustments while driving is key to road safety. 

Anticipate Changing Road Conditions

A bit of extra care and planning when driving your freight truck can make all the difference. Be prepared for driving through construction zones, and anticipate changing traffic patterns based on the time of day. Additionally, staying updated on weather forecasts can help you prepare for slowed-down travel times. Considering these changing conditions and obstacles can help drivers accommodate any travel delays they may encounter. 

Know Your Truck’s Space Cushion

Knowing your stopping distance is essential for safe and defensive driving. This knowledge is especially crucial for freight truck drivers as it takes longer for a truck to come to a complete stop. Your space cushion depends on the size of your vehicle and whether your cargo is loaded and road conditions such as ice or rain. Consider your space cushion when driving, so you are prepared to stop if you need to. 

By practicing these defensive driving techniques, you can protect your vehicle, others on the road, and yourself from harm while staying on schedule. 


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