commercial truck drivers

Defensive Driving Practices to Ensure the Safety of Commercial Truck Drivers


The job duties of commercial truck drivers involve tremendous responsibilities. They are responsible not only for handling mega trucks, tractors, and trailers but also the valuable goods inside them while driving on the highways and carriageways. When they fail in performing their duties, fatal road crashes and collisions occur resulting in serious injuries and even untimely deaths of many including themselves. Know: Top Solutions Associated with Roadway Designs for Maximized Traffic Safety

Commercial Trucking – one of the most dangerous occupations

Although the increased number of radar speed signs installations has proved to be very effective in ensuring the safety of commercial drivers, there are a large number of things that need to be implemented on the part of commercial truck drivers.

The safety of truck drivers is not associated only with them but also is something that directly impacts all others sharing the roads and highways with them. The Department of Labor (DOL) in the United States has regarded commercial trucking as one of the most dangerous professions.

It is because transportation and logistics fleets are found responsible for causing more injuries and fatalities than driving in general, and year after year, these numbers are moving up. When commercial truck drivers ensure their road safety, they contribute profusely to reducing expenses that accidents and injuries involve, claim payouts, and a whopping rise in insurance premiums. Effective and efficient trucking requires a work culture that should involve:

  • Processional coaching by the able experts
  • Live training under the monitoring of experts, and
  • Rewards and recognition for the safest drivers.

This blog discusses in detail what commercial truck drivers should do to ensure their safety apart from abiding by the directions and warnings given by the radar speed signs posted alongside the roads, highways, and carriageways:

Defensive Driving: A Golden Rule for Commercial Truck Drivers

Defensive driving, as far as commercial trucking is concerned, can be defined and described as a form of driving in which truckers always keep a close watch on all types of potential threats, hazardous, and the required changes in the patterns of driving as per the conditions of the roads and various other factors. It is just like following the directions of a variable speed sign that guides and alerts the drivers according to the prevailing driving conditions.

Commercial trucking organizations across the globe always encourage their drivers to go for defensive driving because:

  • It drastically reduces the risk of fatal road collisions and serious injuries
  • Makes the drivers able to take well-timed and well-informed decisions
  • Reduces the hassles and complexities associated with expensive repairs, claim payouts, and insurance premiums. 

Some of the key defensive driving strategies and practices:

  1. Being watchful of the blind spots

The structure of most commercial vehicles including trucks, trailers, and even tractors is such that drivers always confront blind spots. Being in the driver’s seat of a large-sized truck or trailer makes it very difficult for them to have a clear view of what is immediately next to their vehicle and even behind in many cases.

Due to the same reason, commercial truck drivers sometimes even miss taking radar speed signs into notice. So, a blind spot can be defined as any area around a vehicle that’s not visible to a driver directly.

As per the data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), blind spots become the primary cause of more than 840,000 road crashes and collisions per annum. Most of these on-road mishaps despite the installations of radar speed signs take place when commercial truck drivers change their lanes. The lessons to be learned from these unfortunate incidents and circumstances include getting watchful of the blind spots and taking a well-timed decision accordingly.

Since drivers might not get even a little bit of help from both the side mirrors and rearview mirrors while checking out for the blind spots, all the commercial truck drivers need to look over their shoulders the moment they need to change lanes. Also, they need to be very particular about leaving sufficient room around their vehicle during the act.

  1. Always be prepared for emergencies

Commercial truck drivers while covering long distances often have to face so many rapidly-changing driving conditions. They need to be well-prepared to take on any potential emergencies including unfavorable driving conditions and sudden breakdowns. The drivers who always stock their vehicle’s cabin with all the required paraphernalia such as water, packaged edibles, a first aid box, and essential clothing can withstand any emergency while driving their commercial vehicles.

  1. De-escalate road rage situations

Road rage has always been one of the most serious threats to safe commercial driving. Most often it has been observed that when commercial drivers are overtaken, honked at, or even troubled persistently by other drivers. They lose their cool while indulging in road rage behaviors.

They get involved in tailgating or various times even in weaving between lanes. In these moments of heat, they even cannot manage to take notice of what a speed sign posted alongside the road is indicating.

When anger starts controlling their driving behavior, they not only put their own life in danger but also become the cause of accidents for others. Therefore, all the drivers of commercial vehicles need to de-escalate road rage situations by staying cool, calm, and collected and maintaining sufficient distance between themselves and other drivers sharing the roads with them.

Concluding Remarks

As stated at the very outset, commercial driving is one of the most dangerous occupations the world over. The ideas and suggestions discussed in this post can be of immense significance when it comes to ensuring the safety of the truck, trailers, and tractor drivers.

The industry experts believe that around 40% of road crashes can be prevented only if commercial truck drivers take notice of the indications of a speed sign posted alongside the roads, highways, and carriageways.