I've always been a huge proponent of watching your mirrors at all times. I think when it comes to safety, watching your mirrors should be one of your very top priorities - just a smudge under the importance of watching out your windshield. If you know what is going on around you at all times you'll almost always see this kind of stuff coming (about the one minute mark):
While I was waiting for pedestrians to get across the sidewalk a car drove around me to make the right hand turn in front of me and almost caused a collision.
You want keep glancing in your mirrors and noting the speed that everyone around you is running. Knowing the speeds of all vehicles on all sides of you should give you a picture in your mind of what's going to be happening in the next few seconds. Who is going to switch lanes? Who is going to slow down or speed up? Who's getting on or off the ramps? Will someone be in the lane next to me or will it be clear? Is there a shoulder or (Heaven forbid) a field or a median I can use as an escape if something goes wrong in front of me?
Envisioning the speeds of all vehicles around you makes it pretty easy to predict what most people around you will do in the next 5-10 seconds. That helps you plan your "outs" or your "escape route" in case something drastic happens around you.
And remember, bad things don't just happen in front of you. I've had plenty of vehicles go sideways and start spinning alongside me over the years and a couple of times I swerved over enough to avoid contact. If I hadn't been watching my mirrors I would have been involved in a wreck that was happening 50 feet behind the cab that I had nothing to do with at all.
The situation is the video is the perfect example of how glancing in your left hand mirror during the process of a right hand turn can help you avoid a wreck. Now who would've thought you should be watching the opposite mirror in a turn? Who would have thought someone was about to make a crazy move like that?
Well, if you saw him coming up alongside you that almost certainly would have thrown a red flag in your mind. In the process of watching your mirrors a minute or two earlier you may have noticed that he was driving aggressively and looking to pass people. Maybe he was tailgating you for a little while and you could see he was annoyed. So when you stopped to make a turn and you saw him suddenly come up quickly alongside you, you would have thought, "Oh geez. Here comes this guy. He's probably fed up with me and he's going to do something dumb." Then sure enough, right on cue like you're a fortune teller, he makes some crazy move like that and you sit back safely and watch, shrug your shoulders (cuz it happens all the time out there), and calmly continue on safely with your trip.
Just another hour in another day for truckers.
Remember, things happen in a flash out there. When you're driving an 80,000 pound building on wheels there is no room for mistakes. There may be no second chances. Watching those mirrors will help you predict what others will do and help you determine where your safe zones will be in an emergency. If you're not checking your mirrors regularly you're far more likely to get in a wreck.
Operating While Intoxicated
by Brett Aquila
For rookie truck drivers, time management skills are critically important to making good money and being safe out there. Here are some important tips.
Being a professional driver means far more than simply driving for a living. It means maintaining a certain outlook and certain priorities at all times
I recently became a certified CDL instructor and I was given my first students to train on shifting gears. Here's the story, and some advice for newbies
CDL trainers have a vast array of personalities and techniques for training students. Here are some personality types you'll find and how to deal with each
Being a safe truck driver is never easy. Predicting what might happen next on the highway takes years to learn and is very hard to teach a new driver.
After four weeks on the road with my student, it was time for him to take his CDL exam. We were both very nervous. Testing day is incredibly stressful.
Being a CDL instructor is a very unique experience. I was amazed at how much I learned myself. Here are some of the highlights I picked up along the way.
by Driver Solutions
CDL training is certainly not easy. Here are four main reasons why people tend to fail their training at truck driving school and how to prevent them.
by Brett Aquila
Even professional drivers get angry with other drivers sometimes. You have to keep it under control. We'll explain the dangers of road rage and how to prevent it.
by Old School
Prudence is critical when it comes to surviving your first year as a truck driver, but it's something many people seem to be lacking. Here's a good example.
Click Anywhere To Close