It is anticipated that over the next 20 years, the total number of miles driven by Americans will rise by 40%. As traffic volume grows faster than the size of our roads, we need to become increasingly mindful of our surroundings. Here are the top 7 causes of accidents on the road, and some tips to help drivers increase their awareness.

Blind Spots. Trucks are about four times the length of a typical car, so as a semi-truck driver you will have more limited visibility. Although this may seem obvious, and only about ten percent of accidents are attributed to these restrictions in visibility, it’s still worth acknowledging. Other drivers may be unaware of these blind spots. You are responsible to keep a safe distance, and to use caution when changing lanes.

Driver Fatigue. Accidents attributed to driver fatigue are often the most serious. Fatigue causes a driver to have very little reaction time, and can create similar impairments as with driving under the influence of alcohol. After about 17 hours of being awake, your responsiveness and alertness begins to deteriorate significantly. Assess your alertness, and rest as soon as you can find a safe place to stop. Try using Hotels4truckers.com, which is dedicated to helping truckers find hotels that can accommodate them.

Unfamiliar Roadways.

Map Many of the areas you drive are very familiar to the other drivers around you on the road. They may commute that road every day to and from work, and know it like the back of their hand. Unfamiliarity with these areas could cause distractions, from needing to check GPS to poor road signs. Keeping your distance and staying patient in these circumstances will help prevent accidents. Other divers on the road can sometimes be unaware of the difficult obstacles truck drivers have to deal with every day. They may get frustrated in traffic, but by staying calm and maintaining your space from these drivers will really help make a difference.

Speeding. Speeding is the second-highest cause of accidents on the road. Because of the sheer size and weight of a semi-truck they can exert much more force on whatever they make impact. Even though time is important in your business, your safety is even more so. By keeping your speed lower you will not only increase safety on the road by allowing more stopping time, but you will help reduce your cost in fuel.

Weather. Weather is unpredictable and can change in an instant. Being prepared to react in these situations will benefit yourself and others on the road. Slow down when you notice changes in the temperature and clouds. Keep your distance from the vehicle in front of you, and be extra aware of debris that could have fallen in the road. Use your blinker about 5 extra blinks than you normally would before you turn or cross lanes to give others more time to react and see you. When you see other trucks pulled over, chances are they are doing it for a reason and the safest thing to do might be to pull over yourself.

Maintain Your Truck. It is very important to inspect your truck regularly before every trip. This includes brakes, tires, fluid levels, mirrors, etc. The most common violation for out-of-service inspection is brake defects. Keeping up on preventative maintenance will not only assist you by saving you money, but also may prevent an accident on the road.

Be Healthy.

Healthy Trucker You are the most important part of your truck. Staying healthy plays a huge role in your driving. Eating right, exercising, getting plenty of rest, and taking time to return home are a must for safe driving. Taking care of yourself will make you feel refreshed, have more energy, and be more content. You are the driver so you make the decisions, and it all starts with you and how aware you are of your surroundings.

Staying alert and following these tips to improve your driving may prevent accidents and possibly save a life!

Source: http://www.esurance.com/insurance-resources/truck-driving-tips

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Tara Schaub, Enrollment Coordinator

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