As a commercial driver, you are likely a safe driver — if you weren’t, you would be in a different career. You know the rules of the road and follow them.
After all, safety is paramount because, although the percentage of trucks involved in fatal accidents has gone down with each passing decade, the number of people killed has gone up.
That’s why, beyond practicing basic defensive driving principles, there are a few things you can do as a commercial driver to be safer.
Look at traffic, not just signs
When people focus on just signs, they tend to have more accidents than those who engage with the environment around them, according to influential traffic engineer Hans Monderman. That idea of has led to cities around the world creating shared spaces for pedestrians and vehicles.
"Though it sounds chaotic, the results of shared space have shown to be just the opposite: traffic moves slower and the rate of major accidents declines drastically," according to Project for Public Spaces.
While you should obey traffic signs, work on looking at and listening to your surroundings, as well. Doing so could save you and the other people on the road.
Idling is unsafe for you and the environment, but it is necessary, for example, on cold winter days. If you have to idle, keep your windows closed, to avoid breathing in fumes. When possible, however, cut it out of your routine.
“Driver comfort is essential to the job of long-haul trucking, and sometimes truck drivers must run their engines to stay warm or cool in their trucks while resting,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency. “But long-duration idling is also costly to the driver, to the fleet owner and to the environment.”
Consider using idling reduction technologies, which let you turn off the engine while still using the heater, air conditioner or electricity in your vehicle. The EPA recommends these five IRT options:
- Auxiliary power units and generator sets: A device that supplies power
- Fuel operated heaters: Lightweight heaters that run on fuel from the vehicle or a reserve
- Battery air conditioning systems: A system that can integrate with fuel operated heaters
- Thermal storage systems: A system that collects heat while driving and converts it to air conditioning
- Electrified parking spaces: Equipment on or off your truck that provides heating, cooling and electricity
Listen to podcasts on speakers
You probably spend a lot of time listening to music, talk radio and podcasts to pass time behind the wheel. While the radio is easy to listen to over the speakers, podcasts on your smartphone are tougher. Phone speakers can project only so much, and wearing headphones or earbuds is a dangerous way to mute the sounds of the road.
To help, invest in an audio cable — at only a few dollars, it’s not a big investment. You can plug it into the audio jack in your vehicle to connect your smartphone or any other device and play your podcasts as loud as you need them.
Even if you go above and beyond to keep safe, accidents can happen, and victims need an attorney they can trust. The attorneys at Ed Bernstein & Associates have more than 40 years experience in personal injury law and understand its finer nuances. Visit edbernstein.com or call 702-240-0000 to find out how to get started on the road to recovery.