Truck owners would be well advised to train their drivers in the art of advanced driving, as there are many benefits to be reaped
Following recent observation of the driving skills of truck drivers, I have come to the conclusion that the majority of long-distance, extra-heavy vehicle drivers display far more professionalism than those who drive small delivery trucks.
In my experience, the majority of long-distance drivers seem well versed in advanced driving skills; they abide by road traffic regulations and display a large degree of courtesy to other road users.
Comparatively, many drivers of small delivery trucks used in the city appear to be less adept and courteous in their approaches, and some clearly do not possess knowledge of – or apply – advanced driving skills. Truck owners who operate city delivery trucks would be well advised to train their drivers in these aspects, as there are many benefits to be reaped.
One of the main advanced driving skills that drivers are taught is to search for potential road hazards every 12 seconds. Once a threat has been identified, the next step is to assess and predict what could happen, then make a decision on what action to take and immediately execute it.
Identifying road hazards is a matter of continually looking for anything that represents risk, such as a traffic light that is not working, a dog near the side of the road, a vehicle that has broken down or an approaching vehicle that is overtaking another vehicle and causing a dangerous situation.
It is also necessary for a driver to check behind and on both sides of the road for unexpected hazards.
Once a hazard has been spotted, the driver must immediately predict what he or she thinks will happen. An example is when the vehicle in front stops on the side of the road. The driver should be aware that it could pull back onto the road, or do a U-turn in front of his or her vehicle.
Early and quick thinking is required to decide what action needs to be taken to avoid a collision. A driver should always have an escape path in mind, which could be the next lane on a highway or the verge of the road.
Quick execution of the decision is also vital, as in these situations things tend to happen very fast. The time between identifying a hazard and executing avoidance action may be short, so slowing down vehicle speed should be the first priority when a road hazard is identified.
One of the necessary steps to applying good advanced driving techniques is to ensure that the vehicle is always in a good mechanical condition and is safe on the road. A proper pre-trip inspection of the vehicle should be undertaken, with all controls checked and tested and all equipment assessed to see if it is in proper working order.
To be classed as an advanced driver, a positive attitude towards the safety and well-being of other road users is mandatory. Additionally, the driver must know his or her abilities and drive accordingly, and must show courtesy and tolerance at all times.
In conclusion, there is no doubt in my mind that a truck driver should be skilled in the techniques of advanced driving, and that fewer accidents will result if the proper procedures are applied.