Road accidents in Oklahoma can happen not just because the vehicle is mechanically damaged or has maintenance issues. Despite the necessary commercial truck repair and preventative maintenance done to the truck, accidents can still happen due to the drivers’ attitude while on the road.
Oklahoma is no stranger to dangerous highways and roads, considering that there are three major interstates that converge in the city where truck drivers are traversing with commuters and other motorists on the same path. In fact, the Oklahoma Public Safety has reported that there were around 5,600 road crashes involving large trucks in the state in 2019 alone.
As truck drivers, aside from ensuring that our vehicles have undergone quality truck repair and maintenance to drive them safely on the road, we must also observe defensive driving when traversing along Oklahoma’s dangerous routes, especially on the State Highway 9, Turner Turnpike, and some intersections along I-240.
What is Defensive Driving?
According to the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES), defensive driving is “driving to save lives, time and money in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.” In essence, when you’re a defensive driver, you don’t just focus on your own actions but also on the possible actions of other motorists and individuals on the road. In short, it’s basically preventing road accidents before they happen.
Defensive Driving: What to Do?
Below are some things you can do to become a defensive driver.
Look farther ahead to scan for potential hazards and threats.
Due to the size of their vehicles, truck drivers can’t react quickly to road incidents compared to drivers of passenger cars. Thus, it’s recommended that truck drivers should look at least 12 seconds ahead to have ample time to decide on the right course of action.
Of course, it’s also important to have your commercial truck repair and maintenance done by a well-established service center to ensure your brakes and other truck mechanisms will reliably work at crucial moments.
Create a space buffer around your truck
Building a space on either side of your truck allows you to have a safe exit plan in case something unexpected happens on the road. Additionally, creating a space buffer between your truck and the vehicle in front of you allows you to maintain a safe following distance. In terms of defensive driving, the U.S. Department of Transportation advises that commercial truck drivers traveling up to 40 mph must keep a minimum of four seconds of distance, adding one second for every additional 10 mph of speed.
Be mindful of blind spots
Due to the size of trucks, especially box trucks, blind spots are created where you’ll have difficulty seeing anything both at the back and the sides of your vehicle. It’s recommended that truck drivers trying to change lanes shouldn’t solely rely on their side mirrors, but should also look out of their windows and over their shoulders (if possible) to check the blind spots. In addition, consider installing backup cameras on trucks to provide you with greater rear visibility.
Adjust your speed based on specific conditions
Regardless of the posted speed limit recommended for driving on the road, a defensive driver considers their specific conditions to determine the appropriate speed. These factors include their current load, road conditions, their visibility, and the weather, among others.
Make yourself visible
There are many ways for truck drivers to ensure that they’re seen by other drivers on the road. For one, make sure your lights are on when driving on the road any time between half an hour before dusk and half an hour after sunrise. You should also use your turn signals for others to know when you’ll be passing or just changing lanes. It’s also advisable for truck drivers to make a wide turn when turning to allow other drivers to provide you with ample space to complete your turn.
Keep your trucks in top shape!
Avoid accidents on the road by ensuring that your trucks are well-maintained and that each system performs what it’s expected to do at crucial moments.
Truck-n-Trailer is your premier truck repair, sales, and service provider in Oklahoma City with a reputation for fast turnaround times, one-on-one personal service, and the best rates. Get in touch with us today!