Improving the skills of truck drivers will reduce the number of accidents and the risk of drivers being killed or seriously injured on our roads.
Although many of the accidents involving trucks are not caused by professional truck drivers, following a defensive mode of driving and adopting a positive attitude will help drivers to stay alive.
The first step for drivers to take to ensure they become more professional is to ensure that the vehicle is in a roadworthy condition, correctly loaded and is safe to operate on the road.
To achieve this, a professional pre-trip inspection of the vehicle is an absolute necessity, as it will immediately highlight any fault that must then be rectified before the trip is started.
Remember that drivers have the legal right to refuse to take a vehicle on the road if any safety-critical item is faulty. Drivers should, therefore, not be bullied by a manager who tells them to “drive the unsafe vehicle today and we will fix it tomorrow”.
To assist truck drivers to improve their skills, FOCUS has designed a self-test that can be done within a few minutes.
The test is strictly private and there is no need for it to be shared with anyone else, so drivers can be honest with themselves, and a negative answer to any of the questions can indicate where driving skills need to be improved.
Test your driving skills and attitude by answering the following 25 questions. Do you:
|Carry out a pre-tip inspection before every trip?|
|Use an official pre-trip inspection document?|
|Refuse to start the trip if the vehicle or trailer is not in a safe and roadworthy condition?|
|Show tolerance and consideration to other road users?|
|Care for the safety of your passengers and other road users?|
|Obey the speed limits?|
|Know and follow the rules of the road?|
|Not drive in the yellow lines on the side of the road unless it is entirely safe to do so?|
|Avoid harsh braking?|
|Avoid excessive speed?|
|Avoid harsh steering?|
|Continually search ahead for any road hazard?|
|Identify road hazards well in advance?|
|Predict what you think may happen with the road hazard that you have identified?|
|Immediately decide and take action by deciding what to do to avoid the identified road hazard and avoid an accident?|
|Reduce speed in adverse weather conditions?|
|Drive at night at a speed that will enable you to stop your vehicle within the range of your headlamp sight?|
|Keep a proper following distance from the vehicle in front of you?|
|Stop every two to three hours for a short rest?|
|Agree that good and continual driving concentration is necessary to reduce the risk of an accident?|
|Agree that driving and talking on a cellphone increases the risk of an accident?|
|Agree with the maxim: when in doubt, don’t do it?|
|Agree that wearing a safety belt reduces the risk of injury in a vehicle accident?|
|Agree that having a clean vehicle (inside and outside) reduces the risk of accidents?|