Few jobs require as much expertise and caution as commercial driving. It requires your full attention at all times and the ability to react quickly when driving circumstances change, sometimes with little notice. Not only must you contend with other vehicles on the road, but you must navigate through construction zones, hazardous weather, and wildlife that may wander into your path. To protect yourself, your vehicle and other drivers on the road, employ these three commercial driving tips.
Avoid Changing Lanes Too Often
Choose a lane and aim to remain in it. As a commercial driver, you'll likely notice cars changing lanes and trying to go around you often. If you do the same thing, it increases your chances of getting into an accident. You may run into a circumstance where it is necessary to change lanes. When this is the case, carefully check your blind spots and mirrors, before cautiously proceeding to change lanes. When you're on the freeway, it's best to choose the second lane from the right. This way you avoid vehicles that are merging onto the freeway and you avoid the left lane, which is used for passing. If by chance you are involved in an accident with a merging vehicle, if you have maintained your lane position, the merging vehicle is likely to be deemed at fault.
Maintain a Buffer Zone
Commercial vehicles are typically large and often haul heavy loads. This means that you'll need plenty of room in front of your rig so that you have enough space if you have to come to an abrupt stop. Even if the road or freeway you're traveling on is clear, traffic can change rapidly without notice. Before you know it vehicles can go from traveling freely, to coming to a stop without much notice. If you lack enough of a buffer zone in front of your rig, you'll end up rear-ending the vehicle in front of you. If there are cars in front of that vehicle, it can easily turn into a multi-car pile-up. Following too closely is a common cause of commercial vehicle accidents. The typical rig driving at a speed below 40 mph needs about 5 seconds stopping length. You'll need an addition second, or two if you're driving above 40 mph.
Use a Commercial Driving GPS
As a commercial driver, you may unload your rig in areas that you're unfamiliar with, or are traveling to for the first time. A GPS specifically designed for truckers can save you time and frustration and can reduce the risk of having an accident due to distraction. GPS devices designed for commercial drivers offer a wide range of helpful tools, including advanced lane guidance, which can guide you through a complicated intersection or turn, and advanced route and maps. Some devices also include toll information and let you compare routes without tolls. All in all, these devices can efficiently get you from point A to point B without the stress.
To learn more about driving a commercial vehicle, contact a company like Central CDL Assistance.