Guidelines For Safe Truck Driving
To ensure a safe trip, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with driving a truck. Here are some guidelines for safe truck driving:
- Before you hit the road, get comfortable with the truck’s switches and gauges. Driving a truck will feel a bit different from driving a car.
- Adjust your mirrors before you get on the road. Remember, you won’t have a direct rearview mirror, so make sure your mirrors are in the right place for you.
- Trucks are taller and wider than cars and need greater overhead and side clearance. If the height and width of the vehicle is not indicated on the truck, be sure to get this information from your rental agent. Be alert for low bridges and tree limbs, as well as canopies at service stations, fast food restaurants, banks and hotels.
- Remember to pay attention to road signs pertaining to trucks. This means stopping at weigh stations, as well as obeying truck or lane restriction signs and overhead clearance postings.
- Always use your turn signals and avoid making sudden stops or abrupt lane changes.
- Use the vehicle mirrors. Again, trucks are wider and longer than cars. The additional width and length of a truck requires more turning area and more room for lane changes.
- Use caution at intersections. Before crossing an intersection, check left, then right, then left again. Obey all traffic signs and lights.
- Never tailgate. Trucks weigh three to 10 times more than cars and must have more time and room to stop. Maintain more than one car length between the truck and the vehicle in front of you.
- Do not attempt to pass a vehicle moving faster than 40 mph. Never pass on hills or curves. Never use the passing lane on an interstate highway.
- Set the emergency brake every time you park. Turn the wheels away from the curb when parking with the truck faced uphill. When parking with the truck faced downhill, turn the wheels in toward the curb.
- Always look for an area that provides “drive-through” parking spaces. Avoid backing up as much as possible. If you must back up, ask someone to direct you from the side at the rear.
- Practicing these basic driving habits gives everyone else on the road sufficient warning of your intentions and helps prevent accidents.