Defensive Driving

July 21, 2023 8:00 am

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Ensuring your personal safety on the road requires a defensive driving approach, as you cannot control the actions of other drivers and cannot assume they prioritize safety.

It is worth noting that many truck drivers agree that most motorists lack knowledge on driving safely around large trucks. A study conducted revealed that 80-90% of crashes involving commercial vehicles are caused by cars rather than trucks. To maintain your defensive driving skills, here are some tips to follow:

1.     Stay aware of your blind spots: Be mindful of blind spots located approximately 10-15 feet in front of your vehicle, directly behind your trailer, on the passenger side from the door to the back of your sleeper unit, and on the driver side from the front bumper to the nose of the trailer. Checking your mirrors regularly every 4-6 seconds helps to always maintain awareness.

2.     Maintain a safe following distance: The FMCSA recommends maintaining a distance of 1 second for every 10 feet of vehicle length at speeds of 40 mph. For speeds exceeding 40 mph, add one additional second. Considering the average length of a Class A combination truck and trailer is 70 feet, your following distance should be 7 seconds at speeds of 40 mph and under and 8 seconds for speeds over 40 mph. You can measure this distance by selecting a point on the road, waiting for the vehicle in front of you to pass it and then counting the time it takes until you reach it.

3.     Stay alert for emergencies: Emergencies can arise within a matter of seconds, particularly when traveling at high speeds on interstate highways. Stay attentive to your surroundings and remain calm. If you encounter a close call with another motorist and find yourself agitated, locate a safe place to park and regain composure before continuing your journey. Pay attention to activities occurring a quarter of a mile ahead of you, and reduce speed if you observe unsafe traffic behavior, road construction, or any potential hazards.

By implementing these defensive driving strategies, you can enhance your safety on the road and minimize the risks associated with unpredictable situations.

**The content provided is not intended as legal advice and should not be construed or interpreted as such. If such advice is needed, The Paladin Group recommends that you seek counsel for the specific advice or services needed.**

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