When driving an 18-wheeler, you’ve got a lot more to be mindful of than when you’re driving a passenger vehicle. To help you stay safe, here’s a list of seven tips for avoiding distractions.
1. Pre-program your radio before hitting the road.
Of course you want to listen to your favorite artists, podcasts, and radio shows while on the road. But if you want to minimize distractions, program your radio before you get onto the road. Also, be sure to input your destination address into your GPS ahead of time so that you can focus on driving.
2. Adjust your seat, mirrors, and interior temperature before heading out.
Another thing you should take care of is the A/C or heat settings, and mirror and seat position. This way you’ll be comfortable and less likely to get distracted when making adjustments.
3. Avoid eating and drinking while driving.
This is probably not something you want to hear, but the truth is, taking your hands off the steering wheel — even if it’s just one hand at a time — reduces the amount of control you have over your truck. Drink your water, eat your snacks, and have your meals only when your truck is parked. You don’t want to risk an accident over a few potato chips or a cup of coffee.
4. Ignore billboards and other distracting advertisements.
Seems like brands are getting better and better these days at grabbing our attention with ads and billboards. As tempting as it may be, don’t try to read the latest McDonald’s ad. Focus on the road signs and lights ahead of you.
5. Keep a safe distance from other drivers.
Tailgating is a bad idea when you’re driving a passenger vehicle, but it’s an especially bad idea when driving an 18-wheeler. You need space on all four sides of your truck and trailer because you need more time and space to react to the movements of smaller vehicles.
6. Scan your mirrors regularly.
You may be higher up off the ground than everyone else on the road, but that doesn’t mean you can always spot vehicles creeping up next to you. So keep an eye out for cars in your blind spots by regularly checking your mirrors.
7. Keep your truck clutter-free.
You don’t have to be a clean freak to keep your truck organized. If you’ve got personal belongings lying on the floor, they could easily slide around the inside of your truck and cause a distraction. Before you drive out, scan your truck for items that could fall or move out of place and take a moment to secure them.