As a new commercial truck driver, you have a higher risk of getting into an accident than other more experienced drivers. Your employer understands this but decided to take a chance and hire you nonetheless. Your first year or so on the road will be difficult until you get the hang of operating your rig safely and effectively. To help you through this difficult time, here are three common beginner mistakes you should avoid:
Driving as Though You’re in Your Car
As a beginner, you lack the safe driving habits that experienced drivers automatically execute with little conscious thought. Most of your habits and reflexes are for driving your car, which may carry over into your truck driving from time to time. This can get you into an accident because semi-trucks and cars are completely different “animals.” For example, you may start your turns too soon because you forget that you’re hauling a trailer behind you. Another mistake is not remembering that the posted speeds on exit ramps and winding roads are for cars, not for semi-trucks.
Missing Signs and Getting Lost
The view from your cab is quite different from your car and it takes some getting used to. In the meantime, you’ll find that it’s easy to miss critical exit signs. If this happens, you should find a safe place to pull over. Then pull out your GPS or map to figure out where you are and how to get back on your route. Driving your rig around while lost is dangerous. This makes you more distracted and prone to making mistakes. In addition, you may wander on to a road that’s off-limits for trucks and possibly lose the roof of your trailer while going under an overpass with insufficient height clearance.
Failing to Look After Yourself
Insufficient rest, exercise, sleep, and a poor diet will catch up with you. Too little sleep will make you less alert, slow down your reflexes, and make you prone to mistakes. If you’re not careful, you could fall asleep at the wheel. Get 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night without exception.
Set aside time to get exercise, even if it’s just walking. Don’t get into the expensive habit of eating at diners and truck stops. The food will cause weight gain, which can lead to serious health problems later on. Too many truck drivers have made this mistake and are suffering from diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea.
Another mistake is driving with insufficient Florida rig insurance. Don’t find out the hard way that you don’t have enough coverage. This is especially important with regard to liability insurance because even truck drivers working for a carrier aren’t immune to lawsuits. For answers to your insurance questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. J.E.B. Insurance Services also provide insurance in the states of Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa & Nebraska.