Statistically speaking, working as a chauffeur or driver in the transportation industry is a risky career choice. Numbers from the decade ending in 2012 suggest that about 22 drivers die annually on the job for every 100,000 on the road. As a professional driver, you need to do everything you can to make sure you finish each workday without incident. Defensive driving is a big part of that.
The concept of defensive driving involves understanding the potential hazards you might regularly encounter, and knowing how to avoid them. It is a sound concept that can keep drivers and trainers out of trouble.
Here is a short list of defensive driving tips that you can follow for your own safety:
- Vehicle Inspections: Professional drivers are required by law to perform vehicle inspections before hitting the road. Such inspections are a normal part of life. Do not forget to do your inspection, even if you are a well-seasoned driver. Otherwise, you may miss something that could be potentially dangerous.
- Safe Distances: As you know, your vehicle is many times heavier than the vehicles around you. Safe braking requires a lot of distance. For your own safety, and that of others on the road, keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. In bad weather, distances should be even greater.
- Be Patient: Patience is not usually thought of as a defensive driving skill. However, patience is an absolute necessity for the professional driver. Understand that something will happen nearly every day to throw off your schedule. It is okay. If you allow yourself to become agitated, you are more likely to be in an accident.
- Be Courteous: The courteous driver is one who is not only cognizant of other drivers, but one who treats them as he or she wishes to be treated. You do not always have to be first in line or the fastest on the highway. Sometimes common courtesy is the best policy.
- Turn Signals: The average car driver does not understand what you see from inside your large vehicle. He or she thinks nothing of pulling up alongside you and blowing past as though you were standing still. So when you change lanes, make sure you give other cars plenty of warning by using your turn signal well in advance of the change. This will not stop every crazy driver from pulling up alongside you, but it will stop some of them.
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