Exploring new areas as you drive cross-country is definitely one of the perks of being a long haul driver. Finding good sight-seeing spots, new places to eat, and fun things to do is always great, but even seasoned drivers can get lost. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted the Large Truck Crash Causation Study to examine the reasons for serious crashes involving large trucks and found that 22% of those crashes happened when truck drivers were unfamiliar with their roads and highways. Confusion might put you in a tough spot, but following these easy tips can help prevent any accidents while traveling in unfamiliar areas:
Plan your route.
Review any maps and plan out your route before you hit the road. Not only does this eliminate potential distractions like trying to look at your GPS or map, but this can help you stay right on schedule so you deliver your load on time. Don’t forget to safely pull over or wait until you hit a rest stop to check your directions or use any technology.
Different state laws about hauling hazardous materials and road weight limits are just two more reasons why planning your route is important. You wouldn’t want to find yourself in an area you aren’t supposed to be in by mistake.
Drive safely and don’t forget to pack your patience.
If you happen to miss your turn or exit, don’t try to suddenly exit. Pass up the turn and keep driving until you find a safe way to get back on your route. Suddenly correcting a missed turn or exit can be dangerous, not only for you, but the other drivers around you. Don’t forget to pack your patience, it could be life-saving.
Don’t neglect your turn signals.
As always, use your turn signal for any turns, exits, and lane changes. Since you’re in an unfamiliar area, it can help to signal your intentions further in advance than usual. You’ll be in a much safer position to communicate with the surrounding drivers and you will be able to safely follow your route.
Don’t let an unfamiliar road get the best of you. Always use your best judgement, common sense, and training in addition to these tips. Check out our other blog posts to find more useful tips and tricks for truckers!