Being a truck driver means having to spend the majority of your days on the road. When you’re driving for so many hours it can be tempting to do other things while you travel, but this is very dangerous for both you and the drivers around you. Distracted driving was the cause of 3,142 driving-related fatalities in 2020, which is reason enough to be a more mindful driver and avoid distracted driving pitfalls that put everyone at risk.
Put Away Your Cell Phone
Cell phones are tiny computers that fit in our pockets. They are a marvel of modern technology and they make our lives easier. However, it’s also common knowledge that cell phones are the leading cause of distracted driving. Do what needs to be done—silence it, put it somewhere you can’t see it, whatever is necessary to keep your eyes off of it while you’re driving.
Texting is one of the biggest risks when you’re driving. Texting takes your eyes and mind completely off the road, making you unaware of what’s going on around you. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 5 seconds of texting at 55 mph is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field without looking up. The risk is obvious. Traveling at high speeds and getting distracted for a couple of seconds is plenty of time for disaster to strike.
If you need to touch your phone to call someone, consider how important that call is. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, handheld dialing creates a situation where a crash or near-crash is three times more likely than normal. With the advent of hands-free calling technology, this risk has the chance to be mitigated, but calls can still be distracting so it’s best to only make a phone call once you’re off the road.
Ignore Outside Distractions
Billboards, accidents, and even wild animals can create distractions while driving. It is best to keep your attention away from these things and on the road as much as possible. Especially in certain cases where most people will be distracted, it is critical that you are paying attention and are able to respond. If everyone is driving distracted, an accident is almost inevitable.
Stop to Eat
When you live on the road, stopping every time you want to eat can be a pretty significant inconvenience. Unfortunately, eating and drinking while driving pose a higher crash risk than talking on a cell phone. Something as simple as uncapping a bottle of soda can cost precious seconds of attention that need to be on the road. Tipping your head back to take a drink exacerbates this distraction. These moments of inattention can lead to a major disaster.
Don’t Use Your Dispatching Device
Sometimes distracted driving as a truck driver can seem unavoidable due to the fact that you’re working on the road. Dispatching devices are a special hazard for truckers that can cause accidents if you don’t tune them out while driving. Thankfully, companies are taking important steps to make these less of a problem for drivers by having them be inoperable while the vehicle is in motion or making them hands-free so they are less of a distraction for the driver.
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