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A.D. Transport - SR
A.D. Transport Express
American Central Transport
American Central Transport - CD
Anderson Trucking Service - SR
Anderson Trucking Services
Atlas Van Lines
Averitt - DSS Local
Averitt - DSS OTR
Averitt - Shoe Carnival Flex
Averitt - Shoe Carnival Flex Student
Averitt Express, Inc.
Averitt-Nissan Canton Switcher
Barr-Nunn Transportation - Company Drivers
Barr-Nunn Transportation - OTR Solo
Barr-Nunn Transportation - Teams
Barr-Nunn Transportation Established Teams
Barr-Nunn Transportation OTR & Regional
Bay & Bay Transportation - CD
Bengal Transportation
Bennett Motor Express
Big M Transport
Blair Logistics Inc
Bohren Logistics - CD
Bohren Logistics, Inc
Boyd Bros. Transportation, Inc. - SR
Bridger Transportation
Carrier One - Owner Operator Flatbed
Celadon Driving Academy
Celadon Specialized Fleet
Celadon Trucking - CD
Celadon Trucking - Flatbed
Clark Transfer
Covenant Transport
Cowan Lease Purchase
Cowan Lease Purchase S.R.
Crete Carrier Corp
CRST Expedited
CRST Expedited - California
CRST Expedited Plus
CRST Malone
CRST Van Expedited
CRST Van Expedited Pro
Crum Trucking
Dart Transit - Company Drivers
Dart Transit Company
Davis Express
Decker Truck Line, INC
Dedicated Delivery Professionals
E.L. Hollingsworth
Estenson Logistics
Flex Logistics
Florilli Transportation
Fort Transfer Mid-West
Fortrans Inc.
Forward Air Transportation Services
Frito Lay Jonesboro Driver
George Hildebrandt
Go To Transport
Groendyke Transport
Hartt Transportation Systems, Inc.
Heritage Dedicated Services, Inc.
Hill Brothers
Hirschbach Motor Lines, Inc
Hogan Transports
Hoge Motor Company
Hub Group Trucking
Hyway Trucking
Iowa 80
Island Transportation Corp.
Island Transportation Corp. Mechanic
J & R Schugel
J.B. Hunt Transport
Jim Palmer Trucking
K&B Transportation
Knight Transportation - Columbus Student
Knight Transportation - Indy
Knight Transportation - Indy Student
Knight Transportation - Memphis Student
Knight Transportation - Memphis Teams
Knight Transportation - Nashville Student
Knight Transportation - Northwest Student
Knight Transportation - Southwest Student
Koch Company Drivers
Koch Trucking
Koch Trucking Marine
Landstar Crosson
Logan Trucking
Loudon County Trucking
Magnum Express, Inc.
Marten Transport
Marten Transport - Regional/OTR
Maverick - Dewitt, IA
Maverick - Orangeburg, SC
Maverick Priority Division
Maverick Transportation
McLane - Portland
McLane Cincinnati
McLane Cumberland
McLane Findlay
Melton Truck Lines
Mercer Transportation
Milan Supply Chains
Milan Supply Chains - Virginia
National Freight Inc
National Strategic Transportation
NTB Trucking
Olsen and Fielding Mayflower
P&S Transportation
Panther Premium Logistics - Cargo Vans
Panther Premium Logistics - Straight Truck
Panther Premium Logistics - Tractor-Trailer
Paschall Truck Lines - Lease
Paschall Truck Lines - Students
Penske Logistics Corporation
Perfect Timing Transportation
Poly Trucking Inc
Prime Inc.
Prime Inc. - SLC Technician
Prime, Inc. - Student
Quality Companies - Kelle's Transport Service (KTS)
Quality Custom Distribution - Florida
Quality Custom Distribution - North Carolina
Quality Custom Distribution - Virginia
Quest Global
Quest Global OO
R B Browns Trucking
R. E. Garrison
R.W. Earhart
RAS Delivery Services
RE Garrison-Birmingham
Roehl Transport - Regional
Roy Miller Freight Lines
RWI Transportation
Schneider National
Seaboard Transportation
Smith Systems Transportation
Southern Pines Trucking
Southern Refrigerated Transport
Southern Refrigerated Transport- Student
Star Transportation
Summitt Trucking
Super Service Recruiting
Super Service Training
Swift Transportation - Experienced
Swift Transportation - Recent Grads
Swift Transportation - Students
TGL Logistics
The Waggoners Trucking Company
TransAm Trucking
Transcarrier Inc
Transco Lines, Inc.
Tri-State Expedited
Tyson Foods - Diesel Mech
US Xpress
US Xpress - Local CD
US Xpress - PRO
US Xpress - Recent Grad
US Xpress Dedicated
US Xpress OTR Regional Dedicated
US Xpress Students
Venezia Transport
Venezia Transport- LPG/ASP
Veriha Trucking
Vernon Milling Company
Watkins & Shepard
Weinrich Truck Line, Inc
Wellborn Cabinet
Werner - Nationwide
Werner - Northeast
Werner Midwest
Werner Southeast
Werner West
West Side Transport
West Side Transport - Dedicated
Western Express CD
Western Express Company Driver
Western Express Recent Grads & Students
Western Express Students
Whiteline Express
WTI Transport
XPO Logistics, Inc.
Zeller LLC
How to Be the Safest Professional Trucker On the Highways How to Be the Safest Professional Trucker On the Highways
How to Be the Safest Professional Trucker On the Highways
February 3rd, 2017
Road Blog

Our Roads, Our Responsibility. That’s the slogan for the trucker safety campaign by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The goal? To keep America’s highways and byways safe as 260 million commercial vehicles cruise on through 365 days a year. As a truck driver you make up one of 3.5 million drivers of these FMCSA-regulated vehicles. It’s up to you to do your part as a professional truck driver, both for your safety and that of the general public. Yet day after day it can be tedious to maintain a sharpness when it comes to trucker safety skills. In line with the FMCSA’s safety campaign we’ve addressed a few of the most dangerous situations truckers get into, along with ways to make them safer.

Remove Your Blinders

One of the top problems truckers face when staying safe on the highway is blind spots. You have cars weaving in and out of your lane. Other big rigs are creeping up on your truck. You are hauling a load during inclement weather. These are all issues facing drivers. Here are some reminders about how to maneuver around those large blind spots:

  • Note that your blind spots are 20 feet in front and 30 feet behind you, as well as directly to your left and all the way from your bumper to your trailer on your right side.
  • Use caution when trying to change lanes when you have cars on either side of your tractor. You simply cannot see them even with your side mirrors.
  • The best way to handle “no zones” is to be alert to all traffic within view coming up behind you, as well as to the traffic in your vicinity.

Take a Brake

Trying to get your tractor trailer to come to a stop is almost as difficult as stopping a train. In fact it takes truckers in big rigs 40 percent longer distances to stop in comparison to cars. In good weather conditions you require two full-lengths of a football field to make a complete stop. If there’s rain, snow, ice you can tack on another football field, or two. For truck drivers who are overloaded or pulling an oversized load? Well, in those instances you are looking at similar braking lengths as bad weather conditions.

Prepare for braking well in advance whenever possible to give yourself the best chance. This is a safety issue, as well as a truck maintenance issue. Slamming on your brakes at the last minute or downshifting incorrectly can lead to damage to your rig. It can also create trailer malfunctions and load imbalances that are time consuming and expensive to deal with. If you are a driver for a company like Dedicated Delivery Professionals or Heritage Dedicated Services, your employer will appreciate your attention to braking detail.

Turn in Style

You already know that making a hairpin turn when driving a big rig is impossible. That’s a given. But when is the last time you thought about the safe turning radius for your truck and trailer?

  • Utilize a turning radius of 55 feet.

This turning radius gives you the optimal distance needed to make a right hand turn. If you are driving in a tight space and need to cut it sharp, follow these steps:

  • Identify the corner’s angle.
  • Identify road width requirements.
  • For a 30 degree radius you need at least 16’ 6” of road width to make it.
  • A 60 degree angle needs at least 24’ 6.”
  • Both a 90 degree and a 120 degree angle needs 27 feet.
  • A 150 degree angle needs 35 feet.
  • For a 180 degree turning radius you need at least 33 feet of a road width.

When you are in a high traffic area, a construction zone, truck stop, or diesel mechanic repair shop, it’s time to put your super safety hat on. These environments are prone to having four-wheelers zip in and out, often in your turning radius. When you are making right hand turns in this type of setting pay extra attention to any vehicles that are zooming up to get around you on the right side. Otherwise they’ll be caught in the right turn squeeze. As you are moving left or going straight to give your trailer that extra maneuvering room, it’s common for cars to get A. confused or B. impatient. Either way this is one of the leading causes of truck driver accidents, so be aware.

Accept the Inexperience of Others

This brings up another point. Those drivers who are not truckers simply are not aware of the rules of the road of commercial truck drivers. Turning radiuses, braking distances, blind spots. These are all foreign territory for them. As a result you cannot assume, at any time, that those drivers around you at gas stations, at rest areas, on the highway, at restaurants, etc. are going to know how to drive safely around you.

Sure we should all learn how to drive before we get our licenses. But in reality the teenagers who are taking those driving license exams are less likely to remember all of the facts they’ve crammed. This is where it is up to you to drive on the defensive. Being a defensive driver does not mean being angry at other drivers, and it definitely doesn’t involve road rage. Defensive driving means being constantly vigilant.

As a defensive truck driver you must be ready for distracted drivers, speed demons, drunk drivers, and motorists who lack basic driving skills. You have to be ready for any type of weather and prepared to drive in a construction zone at any time. You must be constantly on alert to accidents happening in real-time around you, as well as those that are causing delays and traffic jams. As a truck driver you already know you can’t simply sit back and let the truck drive itself. Defensive driving takes this a step further and requires your eagle-eyed awareness whether you drive for Hyway Trucking, Knight Transportation or MTB Transport.

  • Every 15 seconds do a scan of your surroundings. Pay attention to traffic conditions, construction zones, speeding or creeping drivers, and other big rigs around you.
  • During your scan look ahead a quarter of a mile on a highway. If you are in a city look ahead for two blocks.
  • Every 8 seconds look in your mirrors. Note if there are any vehicles approaching your blind spots.

Stay sharp and be on alert to anything at any time. While this can be tedious and tiresome for truck drivers, especially rookie drivers who aren’t used to this type of driving, it’s imperative for your safety.

Stay Safe and Make it Back Home

When you are out there on the road there is always the chance that you could be involved in an accident or adverse situation. However, by taking your safety into your own hands you stand the best opportunity to avoid being a safety statistic. Keep up the vigilance, be the best defensive driver you can be, and make it home safely after each and every OTR trucking job.

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