The season is changing, and with it, so is the weather. But, through rain, sleet and snow, commercial drivers must brave the weather to make their deliveries on time. Though commercial drivers are subject to risks year around, just like drivers of passenger vehicles, those risks increase during the winter months due to traffic, weather and other factors.
In 2012, commercial vehicles represented about five percent of all vehicles on the road in Canada. These vehicles include trucks and buses over 4,500 kg, and due to their size and weight, these vehicles cannot react quickly to sudden risks on the road. But, there are many things commercial drivers can do to reduce their risk of traffic collisions.
Give the vehicle in front of you plenty of room
According to studies, the most common vehicle trucks hit is the one in front of them. The larger your vehicle, the longer it takes to stop, so maintain a proper space between you and the vehicle in front of you, especially in wet or icy road conditions.
When approaching an intersection, give other motorists ample warning of the direction you intend to go. This will give them time to adjust for you.
Minimize lane changing
Trucks and buses have a lot of blind spots due to their size. Don’t change lanes if you don’t have to, and be sure to check your mirrors at least once every ten seconds.
Give yourself plenty of time to slow to a stop. Most other drivers don’t realize how long it takes for a big rig to stop, so letting them see your brake lights early can help prevent a collision.
If you must travel below the speed limit for an extended period of time (like up a long hill), use your flashers. This will catch the attention of drivers speeding up behind you. Also use your flashers when you are pulled off to the side of the road to alert approaching drivers.
Maintaining a full fuel tank in the winter months can prevent water condensation from building in your fuel lines.
In wet and icy road conditions, drive your commercial vehicle below the posted speed limit. Trucks and buses are difficult enough to stop under normal road conditions, so reduce your speed when there is suboptimal traction.
Be wary of bridges
Bridges freeze faster than roads, so use extra caution when approaching them. It can be hard to detect black ice.
Make sure you’re taking plenty of driving breaks when on longer hauls, and if you’re experiencing eye-fatigue, pull over and take a nap. This will allow you to stay alert while behind the wheel.
We all rely on commercial drivers, both for the transportation of people and the hauling of goods. And we at Alpine Insurance wants to make sure you arrive at your destination safe and sound.