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Safety and Defensive Driving Tips for Truck Drivers


The old saying goes, the best offense is a good defense. According to research, accidents caused by big rigs or the 18-wheelers have increased by 52% since 2009. Safe and defensive driving involves saving lives, time, and money regardless of the conditions around you or other road users.

Defensive driving for truck drivers goes beyond basic skills to state-of-the-art driving techniques that can potentially prevent dangerous occurrences. Here are safety and driving tips that you should know.

Avoid or Minimize Distractions

Almost everyone is guilty of distracted driving at some point in life. The most common distractions are physical activities, including other roadside activities, eating or drinking beverages, flying insects, smoking, turning on radios, and other music players, among others.

The most notorious driving distraction is the cell phone socialite. Avoid using your cell phone at all costs. If it rings, let it ring. You’d instead leave a voicemail than risk your life and that of your passenger at risk.

Scan Intersections Ahead Before Entering

You’d be shocked by how many truck drivers are lulled into complacency, incaution, and insecurely secure prowess. They carelessly drive through intersections with little to no scanning. Most of them will boast of the right of way. A traffic green light isn’t always an indication that all vehicles approaching the red light will stop.

As a result, a left-center-right scan is vital whenever you approach an intersection, without considering whose right of way it is. While this warning may seem so obvious, a study by NHTSA shows that 96% of accidents at intersections are a result of driver error.

Maintain a Good Following Distance

Creating and maintaining a safe distance between your truck and other vehicles is one of the critical measures of defensive driving. You should keep a minimum distance of four seconds if your truck is traveling up to 40 mph. Also, the US Department of Transport approves the addition of one second for every additional ten mph.

Beware of Your Truck’s Space Cushion

Roads are increasingly crowded, which poses increased threats to drivers’ safety. The more congested the roads are, the higher the demand for learning the tips of building and maintaining trucks’ space cushion. While creating space around your truck might seem like a difficult task to achieve, especially when there are a lot of vehicles on the road, it’s easier than you think.

You should stay alert to the activities of other vehicles and keep your eyes moving to monitor and process any necessary detail. Depending on what you see, you should be able to adjust accordingly. Knowing your truck’s weight and height is also helpful in determining how quickly your truck can stop if need be.

Expect the Unexpected

Always be mindful of your surroundings and never depend on other drivers. Try to keep tabs on their driving patterns and predict what they will do as it could influence your driving. Remember, there’s no guarantee that the other drivers around you are not risky.


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