Defensive driving consists in seeing the hazard, understanding the defense, and acting in time.

Tips for Staying Alert and Preventing an Accident as a Truck Driver

As a truck driver, understanding and applying this formula will effectively prevent an accident despite the actions of other drivers or the presence of adverse driving conditions. A good defensive driver must be able to anticipate the outcome of traffic situations so that they can act in time to prevent an accident.

Let’s take a closer look at the standard accident prevention formula and how it can be applied to everyday driving situations.

See the Hazard

Constantly scan the road ahead of you and check your mirrors. Think about what may happen as far in advance as possible. Never assume that a hazardous condition will have passed before you reach it.

Consider the following scenarios:

  • You see an approaching vehicle starting to pass another car. It looks like it will complete the pass in plenty of time, but you aren’t sure. Think about your defense.
  • You see a vehicle on the shoulder of the road—you can’t see the driver anywhere outside the vehicle. What if the door of the vehicle is opened as you pass the vehicle? What would you do?

Of course, there are countless more possibly dangerous scenarios, so look beyond the bumper of the vehicle in front of you and stay alert for any situation that could potentially develop into an accident.

Understand the Defense

There are specific ways to handle most hazardous situations on the road. When you anticipate a hazard, you’re able to review the situation in your mind and visualize your defense so that when the time comes, you’re able to act quickly enough to prevent an accident. Preparation is key. If you have planned for various scenarios, you will feel comfortable when faced with them.

In an emergency, don’t panic. Stay calm and continue to visualize the defensive action you’ll take to minimize damage.

Act in Time

Once you see the hazard and decide upon a defense, act immediately. Never assume that the condition will clear up. The sooner you act, the more time you will have to avoid an accident.

Defensive driving isn’t easy. You must constantly strive to improve your observation and coordination skills by scanning the road and concentrating on potentially hazardous situations. Seeing the hazard, knowing the defense, and acting in time can mean saving lives: yours and those of the drivers around you.


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