What good truck drivers do when traveling the US highways
The trucking companies, warehouses and private sector in the United States employ around 8.9 million people in truck related jobs, in which 3.5 million include truck drivers. As per an estimate 41,000 to 45,000 traffic deaths occur every year in the U.S. Fewer than 9% of those deaths involved commercial vehicles. It is also estimated that one person is injured or killed in truck accident every 16 minutes. Truck accidents naturally involve heavier vehicles. Tractor-trailers when loaded weigh up to 80,000 pounds and are literally unstoppable when driven at a speed of 65 miles per hour. Given their size and mass they are harder to maneuver especially during extreme weather conditions or when road conditions are poor.
Accidents involving commercial trucks on an average lead to tremendous losses including exorbitant medical bills and lawsuits being filed for negligence or reckless driving. However these high statistics can be reduced and accidents can be prevented by following few guidelines like ensuring well maintained equipment and disciplined driving. Just remember, considerate drivers are the unicorns of the travel world and this statement is more apt to the truck drivers who average 12 to 19 days on the road. Here are few ways that can help you become a safe driver while traveling on the US highways.
Flash to pass
It isn’t easy for truck drivers to know that if they have completely passed you by looking in their rear mirror. You can help them by quickly flashing your lights to signal that the driver is clear. However do not flash your bright lights at night as it will temporarily blind the driver.
If another vehicle allows you to merge into traffic, it is polite to thank the driver. Many drivers do this by quickly altering the left and right turn signals or even use the marker interrupt switch. However different states have different laws governing these measures. You should also show thanks whenever a driver is courteous to you.
Steps while reversing
Reversing can be quite tricky for experienced drivers, and can be difficult especially for new drivers. You can follow these steps to make your experience much easier and safer.
- Look behind the truck before you get into the cab.
- Turn on your four way flashers to indicate other vehicles on the road that you are backing up.
- Many drivers use their horns to indicate they are backing, this is not a very great practice and should be avoided as this can be startling and annoying to others on road.
- Roll down the window to better here someone honking at you or yell at you.
- Turn on CB radio, in case another truck tries to warn you of a possible obstacle.
- Allow other vehicles on the road to pass if you have not already pulled too far backwards to stop.
Help other truckers to merge into the freeway
Drivers on the freeway have the right of way. Getting up to speed is difficult for a large semi, so allow fellow truckers to merge either by moving over a lane or by slowing down.
Double turn lane protocol
Truck driver should turn from furthest right lane in multi-turn lanes. This is applicable to both right and left hand turns. If you are on the wrong lane, wait for all the vehicles to pass to avoid any possible collision.