Truck road safety is ultimately the responsibility of two different entities. Anybody sitting behind the wheel of a large truck needs to be specially qualified in driving it, and they need to know the unique laws of the road which apply to larger vehicles.
On the other hand, though, truck road safety is also the responsibility of those authorities in charge of constructing and maintaining the roads. Long-distance cargo travel is a necessity in the modern world and that always involves trucks. Infrastructure needs to be up to the job with things like properly maintained highway crash cushions and barricades and clear indicating marks on the road itself.
For the truck drivers, however, road safety should always be a concern. There are many things unique to truck driving that make for a distinct driving experience. And however long a truck driver is on the road, new technologies – both vehicular and infrastructure – as well new realities of modern driving, make truck road safety a constantly evolving area.
Highway safety experts Valtir say that there are also road safety responsibilities of other drivers that need to be carried out when meeting trucks on the road. You cannot guarantee all other drivers will be adept at these though, and so additional caution when driving such a large vehicle is always recommended.
The Uniqueness of the Truck
There are several things that make driving a truck a different experience from driving other vehicles. Many of these are obvious and related to the size and weight of a truck. Nevertheless, less obvious differences that truck drivers experience is a noted lack of rear visibility, the common encountering of roads which are simply ill-suited to truck travel, and all the extra considerations that come with carrying cargo.
The Bottom Line
Another uniqueness of truck traffic that has implications for road safety is that trucks are normally involved in the transportation of cargo for commercial purposes. This means that truck efficiency on the road is very much in the interests of the companies operating the trucks. Poor truck road safety knowledge on the part of a driver could endanger bottom lines as well as life. On the flipside, the pursuit of speed and efficiency can lead truck drivers to drive too fast or to go for long driving periods without rest. In this way, the economic importance of trucks can actually adversely affect their safety on the road.
Top Truck Road Safety Tips
So, leaving the actual quality of the roads to those responsible, how can you uphold your end of the bargain as a truck driver? Here follows some road safety tips unique to truck driving:
Encourage Defensive Driving
Truck drivers probably should take more care than most other motorists. And by practicing defensive driving, you can massively reduce the chance of accident or injury. Defensive driving essentially refers to things like looking out for blind spots and hazards, going a bit slower, and practicing the “three second rule”, which involves ensuring that the truck maintains three seconds distance between all traffic in front.
The sheer weight of the cargo a truck carries regularly puts them under significantly more stress than other vehicles. Trucks should be serviced more often and get a clean bill of health every time.
You have less of it, specifically regarding vehicles immediately behind you. Because you are driving much higher, they are also difficult to see coming up the flank. Drive steadily but be ready for surprises.
Truck road safety is constantly improving, and the infrastructure that supports it is similarly being developed. Nevertheless, much responsibility still lies with the driver.