Techniques for Commercial Driver License Holders

7 Safety Techniques for Commercial Driver License Holders

(Last Updated On: February 12, 2024)

Driving a commercial truck professionally requires a lot of skill and responsibility. Truck drivers spend long hours on the road and have tight schedules to maintain deadlines. But safety is even more crucial—not just for your well-being but because it affects other motorists on the road with techniques for Commercial Driver License Holders.

This article will explain the most important seven safety tips that you, as a commercial truck driver, should know. Also, you can check out this test site for more information.

What is a Commercial Driver’s License?

A CDL, or commercial driver’s license, is a special license that lets you drive big vehicles. You need it if your vehicle weighs over 26,001 pounds, carries more than 15 people, transports hazardous materials, or has a tanker, double, or triple trailer.

To get a CDL, you need to be at least 18 years old, or 21 if you’re driving a vehicle with hazardous materials. You can only get a CDL in the state where you live.

If your job involves driving a big vehicle, like a school bus, you’ll likely need a CDL. Other jobs that often require a CDL include cargo truck drivers, heavy equipment haulers, and truck driving instructors.

Remember, getting a CDL is about following specific rules based on weight limits and vehicle types. Whether your vehicle is heavy, carries many people, has hazardous materials, or uses certain trailers, a CDL ensures you drive safely and responsibly.

Keeping a strict maintenance schedule

Commercial trucks drive a lot and get worn out on the roads. So, it’s really important for truckers to stick to a regular maintenance plan to stay safe. Depending on how much you’ve driven lately, you should do basic, thorough, and full inspections.

Every 15,000 miles, truck companies, and even solo drivers should do basic checks. This includes testing brakes and lights and making sure all the fluids are good. You do a more detailed inspection every 30,000 miles. This one looks at everything in a basic check and adds changing oil and filters, catching problems before they get big.

Once a year, a full inspection is a must if you want to keep the truck engine running great. Fixing issues early is important for safety and saves money in the long run. Regular maintenance is like a safety net, preventing accidents and being good for the wallet.

Taking driving precautions is a must

Commercial truck driving can be a tricky and sometimes risky job. Too often, your safety on the road is compromised by challenging situations. When you’re delivering to a new place, make sure to find a safe spot to park your rig. Take a walk around the delivery location, paying attention to any hazards that could affect trucking safety. Also, be extra careful at night, noting things like fire hydrants, light posts, and ditches before leaving places like truck stops.

While you’re on the road, there are steps you can take to prevent issues. It might be frustrating with other drivers changing lanes and speeds around you, but staying in your lane helps keep everyone safe. Accidents are more likely when vehicles change lanes frequently, so picking a lane and sticking to it means you’re less likely to be at fault if something goes wrong. Even though lane changes happen, do them carefully by checking your blind spots and mirrors to avoid potential problems.

Lastly, leaving space in front of your truck is a crucial safety tip. Having a buffer zone between you and other drivers gives you time to react and slow down if something risky happens. Most problems on the road usually occur in front of your truck, so having a few extra seconds to make decisions can make a big difference in keeping your trucking journey safe.

Staying focused on the roads is crucial

Driving long distances, especially on open roads with not much around, can get a bit boring. You might feel tempted to quickly check a text or even send one. But the best thing you can do for your safety while trucking is to stay away from your phone. 

Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds makes it much more likely that you could become a hazard on the road or accidentally get into a dangerous situation.

Also, remember that as a truck driver, you’re only human, and focusing on one thing for a long time can make you tired. So, make sure, just like with any job, that you schedule regular breaks. Use this time to stretch, take a break, check your load and tire pressure, and look under your rig for any leaking coolant or oil. Taking care of these things will help keep you and others safe on the road.

Safety Techniques for Commercial Driver License Holders

Slowing Down and Following Defensive Driving

For commercial drivers, safety comes first, and a crucial part of that is driving at a safe speed. Experienced drivers emphasize the importance of staying in control, especially when dealing with unpredictable situations like other drivers, changing weather, or new terrain. Even though time is important, being prepared and driving safely are better ways to meet deadlines than rushing and risking safety.

Now, what’s defensive driving? It’s when drivers use techniques to prevent accidents and focus on safe driving. You might even get a discount for practicing defensive driving. Here’s how to do it:

  • Pay attention to what other drivers around you are doing, and be ready for surprises.
  • Assume other drivers might make unexpected moves, so always be prepared to avoid them.
  • Keep a 2-second gap between your vehicle and the one in front of you, and extend it to 4 seconds in bad weather.

Watching for Blind Spots

Commercial trucks have larger blind spots than smaller vehicles, so it’s important for you to be extra cautious when changing lanes. Always use your mirrors, do a shoulder check, and signal before each lane change—even if your truck has blind spot sensors.

Checking the Weather

To stay safe while trucking, it’s crucial to know what lies ahead on the road. Make sure you regularly check the weather reports for your entire route. The weather can change quickly, so keep an eye on the outside temperature while you’re driving. Planning ahead for bad weather and having a backup plan for any weather issues that might come up can make it much easier for you to stay on schedule safely.

Keeping Emergency Kits

For commercial truck driver safety, plan ahead by creating an emergency kit with essentials like a hard hat, road flares, protective eyewear, first aid supplies, and a flashlight. Adding snacks, water, blankets, and a change of clothes to your supplies ensures readiness for unexpected situations, whether on remote roads or in bad weather.

Final Thoughts

Keeping safety tips in mind is crucial for a safe journey on the road. By prioritizing safety, you’re not only looking out for yourself but also for others sharing the road with you. Drive safe and stay safe out there.

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