Driving a big rig on the open road is about as easy and relaxed as it can get for many drivers. The open road of highway, trailing throughout the country, was made for long haul drivers. Operating a semi-truck always requires attention to safety, even if it’s just you and some tumbleweed on a summer afternoon. Sometimes a truckload will require a trip to a big city and navigating in an urban area requires a great deal of attention in order to avoid being involved in an accident with another vehicle.
Leaving the Open Road & Hitting the Streets
In your trucking career, delivering to or traveling through an urban area will be inevitable. Whether a construction detour leads you down the heart of downtown or you have a delivery for a business, you may find your route to be challenging. While driving in and around dense cities can be stressful and potentially dangerous, there are ways to keep you safe and calm. The next time you leave the open road and hit the heart of the city, consider the following safe driving tips:
- Take Care of Yourself: If you’ve been driving out in the open for a while, you will want to make sure that you are refreshed and alert before you drive in a dense area. If you are feeling fatigued or stressed or even hungry, take care of your needs first. Driving in urban areas can be particularly stressful and elevated stress levels can be worse when you’re hungry or tired.
- Know Your Route & Where You’re Going: Nothing can be more frustrating than being lost, particularly if you’re trying to keep up with heavy traffic. Whether you are familiar with the city or are entering a new place, it’s important to know your route and be aware of any detours. Choose the easiest and less congested route whenever possible.
- Be Prepared for Impatient Drivers: As you already know, fellow motorists can be impatient and are often less than courteous to big rig drivers. When you are navigating busy city streets, you will be trying to share the road with many drivers who are reckless, aggressive, and distracted. Ignore the glares, the obscene gestures, and horn honks. Don’t challenge any driver, focus on where you are and where you need to go.
Share the Road, Look Out For Others
Not only are you responsible for paying attention to where you are on the road, but you should also be on the lookout for other motorists and pedestrians. In urban areas, where car and foot traffic is heavy, you may encounter motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians who assume that you will see them or can stop for them. Remember, in bigger cities, you may have more motorists in your blind spots; minimize your lane changes to avoid being in an accident. Additionally, keep your distance between yourself and other motorists (regardless of impatient drivers). Wherever you travel, enjoy the ride just take the time to practice the rules of the road wherever you drive.