As a long-haul truck driver, your safety is what matters most. So, with as much time as you spend on the road, you’re bound to run into on-road construction. While navigating small construction zone easy, larger ones might need some extra attention. With National Work Zone Awareness Week right around the corner, we created this guide to help keep you and other drivers safe behind the wheel.
If you do take the same route for your hauls, you should do your research and plan ahead. If possible, check with local officials about any possible upcoming construction or road work. This can help you plan an alternative route. If there isn’t one, you can still make the appropriate deadline changes, just in case you are delayed. This planning will also help if road conditions affect the customers. Certain people are less likely to be understanding when mistakes are made if there could have at least been an effort to avoid them.
Read The Signs
It might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to overlook road signs when driving. Even if you’ve driven the route a hundred times, you still need to pay attention. Construction work zones can increase the likelihood of fatal accidents significantly, so taking the time to look for warning signs is a must. Scan the road for new construction zone signage during your travels. You should look for traffic fluctuations in traffic patterns as well. Usually, even if you can’t see the work site, you’ll notice a difference in the way drivers ahead of you are driving. Excessive breaking is a clear indication that there’s a delay ahead of you.
In addition to staying alert on the road, you also need to drive defensively. Be on the lookout for erratic drivers both in front and behind you. You also need to keep enough braking distance between your truck and other vehicles. Some fleet owners already have dash cams installed to ensure the safety of their drivers, especially for long hauls. Dash cams can help owners and operators stay safe by offering real-time footage of the driver’s behavior behind the wheel. It can also help owners identify any mistakes drivers make while on the road.
Merge With Caution
While technically how you merge into traffic falls under defensive driving, it’s still a separate entity on its own. How you enter into a construction zone impacts how you navigate through it. Make sure you’re merging as safely as possible, both in and out of a construction zone. Make it a point to double check potential blind spots as well.
Not obeying the speed limit is probably the easiest way to get pulled over by police and possibly be involved in an accident. Always obey the speed limit, and if you see road work ahead, you might want to drive a little slower as well.
Even with delivery deadlines, you need to drive safely. And as annoying as sitting in traffic is, or trying to navigate your way through work zones, you need to be patient. If you have a tight deadline, call your boss or the customer to let them know what’s going on.