Driving has the potential for great benefit or great destruction. Transportation allows goods to move from one place to another, and it keeps America functioning. The trucking industry is one that allows us to indulge in our day-to-day lives. With all that driving, it is important to know a trick also known as Defensive Driving. Defensive driving is a technique that all drivers should be aware of; however, it is especially important to truck drivers like you. Many of you may already have a foundation in what defensive driving is, but this is just to give you an additional refresher.

Defensive driving, simply defined, is a technique that allows you to lower the risks associated with being behind the wheel. It allows you to respond to a situation rather than react. It will give you a “leg up” on other drivers. Defensive driving is a myriad of skills that once combined will allow you to gauge potential threats at a faster rate.

Here are a few of those skills that you can put into practice. First, you must remember to stay focused. Driving is your task at hand, and it should be priority number one. With that comes the task of being aware. That means being aware of your surroundings, where you stand in traffic, potential hazards lurking nearby, etc. It’s important to be proactive not reactive. And being aware of what is around you will give you more time to interpret the situation instead of getting caught off guard.

Another defensive driving technique is to remember what you are in control of. And, that would be yourself. You cannot depend on other drivers (truck driver or other motorists) to be doing their job as traffic moves. People are easily distracted, so you have to be prepared to adjust to the situation at hand. Be sure to maintain a safe distance between you and other drivers. That will give you extra time to make a safer decision if you’re put into a tough situation.

A defensive driving technique that is really important to remember is to give yourself an “escape plan” so-to-speak. What this means is that you allow yourself to see others and be seen yourself. You will want to position yourself in a place that is going to allow you to maneuver around potentially dangerous situations. This not only helps you, but it allows other motorists to follow your example. They will want to avoid bad situations too.

Finally, be sure that you ‘communicate’ with other vehicles. What that means is that you give them indications of what you plan to do. This means you should signal early and be clear about it. Be sure to check your mirrors, and be aware of your blind spots. This will help you eliminate problems caused on your end.

Remember to practice Defensive Driving, and be safe out there!