Defensive driving is a critical part of any driver’s training, and it should be ongoing. Hopefully, your drivers will never have to use the defensive skills they were taught during your company’s new driver training. But if they ever do, you want to make sure they haven’t forgotten it.
That means regularly training—at least once a year—on defensive driving tactics that can save lives.
Focus On All Drivers
Defensive driving is about being aware of your surroundings and prepared to make adjustments based on external factors. That means your drivers need to constantly observe road conditions, weather patterns, and other drivers. Some key things drivers need to do include are below.
Maintain a safe distance
One of the most dangerous obstacles your drivers will face are other vehicles on the road. Other vehicles will speed up, slow down, and pass unpredictably. In order to take these behaviors out of the equation, truckers should maintain a safe distance between themselves and other vehicles, remembering that road conditions, weather, and their speed will all impact how long it takes their truck to come to a complete stop in an emergency.
Take additional caution with turns
No one likes following a big truck on the highway, and many drivers will try to zip around them any chance they get—whether it’s a good idea or not. Truck drivers need to remember to turn their signal on well in advance of turning or switching lanes. And, even then, they need to be prepared for someone to try and squeeze by at the last second.
Avoid the center lane
It’s a good idea for truck drivers to stay in the right lane as often as possible, because the less they switch lanes, the fewer opportunities for an accident. If a driver does have to go into the center lane in order to pass, he or she should get back into the right lane as quickly as possible. Being in the center lane means cars are passing on both sides, doubling the chances for an accident.
Driving risks change throughout the year. As we addressed in a recent post, late winter and early spring are a particularly dangerous time, because unpredictable weather conditions often make for very erratic driving. The same is true with early snows, spring rains, and even the intense heat in the summer. Extreme or changing weather causes drivers to react poorly behind the wheel.
Your job is to ensure your drivers are both prepared for weather changes and for the crazy driving it will cause. You don’t need to retrain drivers every season, but scheduling periodic safety talks to discuss current conditions are a good idea.
For more advice on training your team, contact an expert Contracted Drivers Service today.