Being a professional driver doesn’t automatically mean you’re absolved of any bad habits behind the wheel.
Thousands of fatal accidents occurring annually involve a commercial driver. While weight is a major cause of these tragic accidents, there are also common problems with braking and brake systems, and of course, distracted and impaired driving.
If you want to stay safe to achieve your biggest business goals and for the people you love, here are seven of the most dangerous habits commercial drivers possess that you must make strict effort to deal with.
1. Drugs and Alcohol
This seems like common sense, but many drivers feel like they’re great at their jobs even when slightly impaired. The truth is, even small amounts of drugs and alcohol dull our senses and make us more likely to take risks.
Typically, there are laws in place restricting how long you can be on the road as a commercial driver. Even so, the pressure to deliver by a certain time can encourage drivers to keep going when they should pull over.
There are unique ways you can manage stress even while on a business trip without letting it get at you.
3. Bad Weather
Staying safe on the road begins with good business auto insurance. But ultimately, safety depends on your good judgment, too.
While commercial drivers are trained in driving techniques appropriate for bad weather, you have to know when to say when. Snow, ice, high winds, and torrential rain can and do get severe enough to where you should pull over.
Don’t try to force yourself over what you have absolutely no control over.
Is everyone moving a little too slow for you? That’s too bad. How you definitely shouldn’t react is by tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, and more aggressive driving techniques. It could be dangerous to do so.
This is by far one of the worst habits commercial drivers have; as professionals, some start to think they make the rules of the road when in reality, it is not so. Constantly going against lay-down traffic rules might attract legal action to be taken against you in your small commercial driving business.
5. Failure to Yield
No one exists at peak awareness all of the time. But failure to maintain optimal awareness at intersections, no matter what signage or lights indicate, is a major problem.
Failure to yield accidents occur when we’re inattentive or perhaps even unaware of who has the right of way is a dangerous habit every commercial driver must get rid of.
Speed limits change frequently, as every driver is well aware. But that doesn’t stop many commercial drivers from putting the pedal to the metal when it suits them.
Often, they’re doing their best to be on time, when in reality, the simple act of going more than five MPH over the speed limit can take them off of the road altogether.
7. Phone Usage
Even though cell phone usage while driving is outlawed in many places, there are still drivers among us who see nothing wrong with merely glancing at their phones.
But anything that takes your eyes off of the road – no matter how momentary – is considered distracted driving. Even GPS systems should ideally be mounted on the dash in an area where you don’t have to divert your eyes from the road.
Being a commercial driver doesn’t mean you never make mistakes. However, we must be cautious around bad driving behaviors that could be considered habitual. If you can avoid these seven bad habits outlined above, you’re already on track for a successful, lucrative, and safe career as a professional driver.