When it comes to driving a commercial vehicle there are several additional considerations over that of driving any other vehicle. Generally, if you are driving a commercial vehicle for a living then you are going to be out on the road a lot more often than any other driver. It is important therefore that you don’t get complacent about road safety and always be aware of how you are driving.
Care for Your Vehicle
It is important before you undertake any driving task in a commercial vehicle that you perform an inspection of the vehicle. You want to make sure that all of your tyres are in good order. You want to know that the brakes are fully operational. You should check and make sure that there are no dripping patches of oil or coolant under the vehicle that could indicate problems. If you are carrying a load, then make sure that it is fastened and secured correctly and cannot move around in transit. You should also consider getting a truckers GPS if the vehicle doesn’t already have one, as this will help you whilst out on the road.
Care for the Road and Other Users
When driving a commercial vehicle, you always need to be aware of other road users. This means knowing your braking distances and making sure that you leave adequate space in front of your vehicle so that you can stop in time. This is particularly important if you are carrying a heavy load as this can increase your stopping distance. Always make sure you are driving at the correct speed. Commercial vehicles tend to be limited to a maximum speed, but not always. You should err on the side of caution particularly when it comes to going around corners, or other bends. Always be aware of the weather and how that changes the road conditions particularly for a commercial vehicle. Finally, ensure that you have scoped out your destination. This may mean parking somewhere safe and taking a look on foot before you take your vehicle in. The last thing you need is to be trapped because there is nowhere to turn.
Care for Yourself
This is equally important. There are regulations regarding the amount of time you can spend driving and the amount of rest that you need to take. Commercial pressures will always want you to drive longer, faster, and take fewer breaks as you earn more money that way, but this increases the danger. You should always ensure that you get a good night’s sleep when you need to sleep, and if you are constantly feeling tired, then make sure that you don’t have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea that is hindering your ability to recover. If you are feeling unwell whilst driving, then pull over and take a break. It is better to get there in one piece and late than to not get there at all. Regulations on driving times exist for a reason so make sure that you don’t fall foul of them.