There’s no getting around one unavoidable fact: tractor trailers are dangerous. That’s not an indictment but rather a simple, obvious statement. Tractor trailers are very large and very heavy. They take a comparatively long time to slow down on the highway, and they have a great deal of momentum while in motion. Of course, this is why they don’t let just anybody get behind the wheel. Drivers must be rigorously trained in the proper operation of a large truck so that they can be responsible behind the wheel. As these drivers learn, there are some common safety standards that operators of large trucks will follow.
- Spacing – One of the most important techniques that drivers use to ensure safety is maintaining proper distance. While other drivers do this as well, drivers of large trucks have to be constantly aware of spacing. Height is an issue for passing through tunnels and overpasses. The space beneath a truck can be an issue for surface obstructions. The space in front of an behind a vehicle must be considered as well for obvious reasons, especially considering a wide turning radius and long stopping times.
- Speed – Maintaining a safe speed is essential for safety, and not just standard speed limits but also an awareness of the proper speed for your specific vehicle given the road conditions and vehicle weight. The most dangerous situation would be an overturned truck, and that happens most often when a truck goes too fast around a turn (such as a highway ramp).
- Trip Planning – Drivers make better decisions when they are well prepared, so knowing the route and potentially hazardous weather conditions can allow drivers to know what’s expected. Knowing the best routes for one’s vehicle also ensures roads that minimize dangerous turns and curves.