It’s not easy to drive a large truck and it requires special skills and knowledge. You have to be able to see far ahead, at a distance that’s difficult for most people to imagine. It would be best if you kept your vehicle maintained properly and know how to drive safely through intersections and near pedestrian zones. And you need specialized training in order to handle heavy loads with confidence. Fortunately, some defensive driving techniques for truckers can help you avoid accidents — and get home safe at the end of each day.

Planning Ahead – Essential for Defensive driving for truckers

It’s always good to know trucker driving tips, but planning your route is not just a tip, it’s also your responsibility when you’re on the road.

  • Plan your route. Think about where you want to go, and plan a route that will allow you to arrive at your destination on time. Keep in mind any delays that might occur along the way: construction zones, weather-related incidents (e.g., storms), and other drivers who may not be driving defensively or safely (e.g., drivers using their cell phones).
  • Plan for stops along the way. If there is any chance that something could happen while you are stopped (such as traffic accidents or road closures), make sure that you can rely on your defensive driving strategies without putting yourself or others in danger.
  • Plan for emergencies. You never know when an emergency situation will arise during your drive. It could be as simple as running out of fuel or getting a flat tire, but preparing for these types of mishaps ahead of time can help ensure that they don’t become dangerous.

Plan Ahead Defensive Driving For TruckersSource: Freepik


Scan Far Ahead and Behind

Scanning far ahead and behind is a key part of defensive driving for truckers.

You should be scanning at least every second or so, looking for hazards that could present themselves in the next few seconds. This includes other vehicles that are not being driven safely, debris on the road, pedestrians who may be crossing in front of your vehicle, or children who may run out into the street unexpectedly. Scanning ahead also helps you anticipate problems like traffic jams or stop lights that will slow down traffic flow.

Scanning behind allows you to see what other drivers on the road are doing so that you can plan accordingly if necessary. You can tell whether they’re slowing down because there’s an obstacle up ahead or because they’re about to change lanes without using turn signals and then make sure there aren’t any vehicles following too closely behind them before merging into their lane if needed (usually during heavy traffic).

Drive at a Safe Distance

The first technique for defensive driving for truckers is to drive at a safe distance. You want to give yourself enough space and time to react properly in all situations.

When it comes to truck drivers, you want more than just the recommended 3-second gap between your vehicle and the car in front of you. This is because big rigs take longer than cars do to stop when they need to (due to their weight), so you need more distance between vehicles for safety purposes. Big rigs also have trouble turning at places where regular cars can turn easily, which means that it’s important for them to have adequate stopping distance but also an ample turning radius as well.

Additionally, if there are bad weather conditions such as rain or snow on an interstate highway with multiple lanes going in both directions, drivers should keep even more space between each other since these conditions make it harder for drivers’ vision and reaction times because of their reduced visibility due to the bad weather factor.

Drive At A Safe DistanceSource: Freepik

Keep the Appropriate Speed

Driving at a safe speed is crucial to defensive driving for truckers. If you are driving too fast, you may not be able to stop in time if another driver makes an error or changes lanes quickly. The same goes for driving too slow; if traffic or weather conditions cause other drivers to slow down, you could easily find yourself in a collision because your truck can’t safely stop on its own.

Stay Focused at Intersections

As you enter an intersection, make sure you have enough room to stop. Watch for pedestrians and cyclists who may get in the way of your truck. Also, keep your eyes on the road ahead of you and use your mirrors to stay aware of what’s happening around your vehicle. Look for signs and signals that could affect how other vehicles are moving at intersections. Finally, check each blind spot in both directions before proceeding through an intersection or lane change — don’t assume that there’s nothing coming up behind you!

Stay Focused At Intersections Defensive Driving For TruckersSource: Adobe Stock

Avoid Road Rage Situations

In addition to all of the defensive driving techniques listed above, there are some additional ways to avoid road rage situations.

  • Don’t retaliate. If someone cuts you off or gets angry while they’re driving, don’t react by doing the same thing back in response. This can escalate into a dangerous situation quickly, so it’s best to let it go and move on with your day.
  • Don’t get aggressive when someone else is being aggressive with you – it won’t solve anything and will only make things worse for everyone involved in this situation (including yourself).
  • Don’t let them get under your skin – remember that most people who behave aggressively towards others do so because they have low self-esteem themselves; their anger stems from their own personal problems rather than anything specific about what happened earlier between both parties involved in this situation at hand.

Acknowledge pedestrians

When you are driving in an urban area, you should always be looking for pedestrians. This is because there are a lot of people who can cross the street at any time.

You should also be on the lookout for pedestrians when making turns at intersections or approaching stop signs and lights. When making a turn or approaching an intersection, look both ways carefully before proceeding so that no one else gets hurt by your vehicle.

Acknowledge PedestriansSource: Freepik

We hope these tips can help you understand the importance of defensive driving for truckers, and we wish you safe travels as a driver. Remember to stay alert and keep your eyes on the road at all times.

For more insights into the trucking world, follow us on our YouTube channel Extra Mile International Inc Trucking Company, and visit our Instagram profile @extramiletx.

Fleet Manager & Recruiter at Extra Mile International | + posts

Mia is a Fleet Manager and Recruiter at Extra Mile International, based in Chicago. Mia is over 5 years in the trucking industry while driving trucks for more than 3 years.