3 Truck Driving Safety Tips for New Drivers

While all motorists are taught the same basic safety principles, truck drivers face unique challenges on the road. Semis handle differently than vehicles you’ve operated in the past, requiring you to modify your safety habits. Learning more about common mistakes and how to prevent them will help you progress during CDL training.

What Should New Truck Drivers Avoid to Remain Safe on the Road?

1. Lane Drifting

Commercial trucks take up more space, especially when handling wide loads. Given the rig’s size and weight, it may become difficult for truck drivers to stay in their designated lane. Drifting is a common issue for new operators. It can cause sideswipes with adjacent vehicles or force following cars to slam their brakes.

CDL training schools provide lessons on maneuvers, compensating for larger blind spots, and vehicle control.

Rig manufacturers and transport companies are also aware of the drifting issue. Older semis are difficult to control, necessitating more force to prevent lane drifting. New rigs don’t have the same problem. They’re smoother, easier to steer, and don’t require excessive strength to manage. In turn, driving companies are phasing out older vehicles for new models.

2. Following Closely

Truckers must often alter their driving habits that have become second nature. Most cars should stay three seconds behind the vehicle in front of them, according to Travelers Insurance. If an incident occurs, drivers have enough space to stop without striking the car ahead of them.

Due to the excessive weight, semi-trucks can’t turn or stop as quickly. Commercial drivers modify the three-second formula to maintain a safe following distance. When on the road, the 2021 Ohio Commercial Driver’s Manual suggests a two-pronged approach. At speeds below 40 MPH, truckers should add one second of distance for every 10 feet of their vehicle’s length. A 30-foot rig should be three seconds behind the car ahead of it. When traveling over 40 MPH, maintain a five-second following distance to prevent tailgating.

While it may take time to adjust to the modified formula, CDL schools provide the behind-the-wheel training you need to be safe on the road.

3. Excessive Speeding

It’s common for new drivers to speed. They want to ensure on-time deliveries and build a positive reputation. However, speeding is still dangerous. Several states have lower speed limits on semis than regular cars, which Trucker Country listed on their website.

Since trucks need more time to stop, moving at a slower speed lowers the risk of collisions. While drivers may worry about their schedules, carriers are more concerned about their employees. Many carriers offer bonuses to drivers moving at slower speeds to incentivize safety. All trucking companies also use electronic logging devices (ELD). The technology notes the vehicle’s rate, allowing dispatchers to alert drivers of accidental speeding.

Hamrick School’s truck drivers are among the safest and reliable in the country. If you’re considering a lucrative career in commercial transportation, reach out to us at (330) 239-2229.

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