Lane Change Safety in Trucking
There are many challenges that we face on the road and as a professional Truck Driver you are held to incredible standards that reflect some deep understanding of safety on the road. Let's take a few moments to recognize some hazards of the road and how we can better prepare you for the road and prevent lane change crashes that are some of the most dangerous accidents on the road. These tips and recommendations are not meant to be all inclusive. See your local laws and driving recommendations from your company and state department of motor vehicles.
RECOGNIZE THE HAZARDS
Increased traffic on the road is always a dangerous place to be but it's very important to remember that the danger factor is so much more incremental when you have more than four wheels on the road and everyone else has less. Construction zones on the roads and highways have posed numerous threats to the distracted driver and as you're driving and changing lanes through a construction zone it's important to always be looking for the other driver. Other obstacles while driving on a road that has many other drivers or construction like a stalled vehicle can cause you to change a lane sometimes suddenly so it's important to be aware of your surroundings.
Is your truck equipped with good mirrors that give you visibility on the road? Take the initiative to make sure your truck runs right for you and serves YOU best. If you have properly fitted and working mirrors to help you see better that is important. Mirrors are prone to misalignment due to the wear and tear of road vibration. Make sure your turn signals and horn are operable as well.
Drivers who make a lot of lane changes increase their chances of a crash. Combine other risks like the speeding and not giving yourself the proper distances in between other vehicles can increase the odds of a crash when other vehicles cannot judge the distance properly to react. This could lead to improper lane changes and the avoidance of a rear-end crash is almost inevitable. Always be in the habit of using turn signals to help avoid any lane change crashes.
So now we know the hazards what's next? How can we combat these challenges and prepare for the day or night?
How well are you preparing for your trip? How's the route? Is it riddled with road closures and detours? It's very important to always double check even if you're familiar with the route. Weather, construction, riots (in today's climate), accidents and other road hazards and obstacles. Get that GPS, consult your road aps and colleagues and see what's happening in the areas that you plan on traveling to and through.
FINALLY... MAKE SAFE AND LEGAL LANE CHANGES
Remove those pesky distractions. Get off the phone, talking or texting is a hazard while operating any type of vehicle especially a large one.
Stay in one lane as much as possible. The more changes the more possible ways to have an accident.
Use your turn signals and keep proper distances between vehicles.
Make frequent mirror checks and out through your windows and keep an eye out for those blind spots.
Observe State laws that have "Move Over" laws in the areas you're driving. If you see emergency vehicles it's always wise to slow down and move over.
TIPS: Use the LEAN AND LOOK method to ensure another vehicle is not in the tractor's right-front blind spot.
Move gradually into the adjacent lane with lane changes. Never move over abruptly.
January 26th, 2021