Truck drivers are among the most skilled and experienced drivers on the road. They must be able to safely handle a large, heavy vehicle under a wide range of conditions. However, one of the greatest dangers truckers face is from other drivers who are not paying attention. Distracted driving can be deadly for everyone on the road, but especially for truckers who need plenty of space to stop their vehicles.
What Is Distracted Driving?
It refers to activities that divert an individual’s attention away from the primary driving task. This can include talking or texting on a phone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, using a navigation system, and adjusting a radio or entertainment system.
Cell phone use is one of the most common and most dangerous forms of distracted driving. When drivers use their phones to talk, text, or browse the internet, they are not only taking their eyes off the road but also their hands and minds. This can lead to serious accidents. It’s worth noting that there are distracted driving penalties depending on the state, which can include fines and points on a driver’s license. Multiple violations can also lead to a truck driver getting disqualified or prohibited from driving a truck.
How Can Truck Drivers Identify Distracted Drivers?
Truck drivers need to be constantly on the lookout for signs to identify distracted drivers. Here are some things to look for:
Physical Distraction: When a driver is physically distracted, they take one or both hands off the wheel. Look for drivers who are holding something other than the steering wheel. They may be eating a sandwich, operating their vehicle’s GPS system, texting, or using their hands to search through their vehicle while it’s still moving. Using both hands is critical for maintaining control, especially that of a large truck.
Visual Distraction: A driver who is visually distracted takes their eyes off the road for extended periods of time. Check drivers who are looking down at their laps or at something in the backseat. They may be texting, reading a book or map, or looking at something outside of the vehicle for too long. If a driver is not looking at the road, they are not able to see what’s happening and may not be able to react in time if something unexpected occurs.
Mental Distraction: This occurs when a driver is not focused on the task of driving. They may be daydreaming, lost in thought, or even nodding off to sleep. Inattention can lead to serious accidents. Be on the lookout for drivers who are not paying attention to their surroundings or who seem to be in a daze.
What Should Truck Drivers Do If They See a Distracted Driver?
If you see a driver who appears to be distracted, the best thing to do is to give them plenty of space. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you need to make a sudden stop or lane change. If possible, try to get in front of the distracted driver so that they are not following too closely behind you. You can also honk your horn to try and get their attention.
Distracted driving is a serious problem on our roads today. By being aware of the signs to look for, truck drivers can help make our roads safer for everyone. If you see a distracted driver, be sure to give them plenty of space and report them to the authorities if they are driving dangerously.