As truck drivers, we often hear of the need to reduce and eliminate distractions while driving. And while this causes individuals to instantly conjure up images of cell phones and texting — and it should — there are so many more distractions, both internal and external, that can affect driving focus. Many of them we might not even recognize as distractions at all.
At TQM Logistics, we provide jobs for CDL drivers throughout Pennsylvania, and we want you to be safe while you’re out on the road. That’s why we offer resources, like industry news and information to keep you knowledgeable and protected when you’re out there. Let’s take a look at some of the most common truck driving distractions and how you can avoid them.
Distractions Outside the Cab
For the most part, these external distractions can be easy to identify. Essentially, they consist of anything around us, outside of the cab, that diverts our attention away from driving. Many of them are obvious, like billboards, planes, scenery, and buildings. Remember, it’s dangerous to take your eyes away from driving for any amount of time. You need to pay attention to the road and the cars around you so you can react to anything unexpected.
Distractions Inside the Cab
In addition to external distractions, there is a significant number of things inside the cab that can also be dangerous for CDL drivers.
Probably the number one distraction for all drivers, cell phones create dangerous conditions for both you and the other drivers around you. Both texting and talking on the phone divert attention away from driving, physically and mentally. Think about it — to read or send a message, or dial, you’re taking your eyes off the road. Not only that, but pushing buttons on the phone takes one of your hands off the steering wheel. Additionally, if you’re engaged in a conversation, whether spoken or written, it takes your mind off the road as well. Remember, using a cellphone while driving is illegal for CMV drivers.
While they help you to communicate with your dispatcher, keep your logs, and make your job easier, these devices can cause distractions if used while driving. They take away your hands, eyes, and mind from driving and can even make incoming messages seem urgent. In fact, many companies even have lockout features on the mobile data terminals when the truck is moving.
Maps and Notes
Utilizing maps, printed directions, and notes to your self can be a normal and common part of the job. However, reading or writing while you’re driving is a much bigger risk than you think. A GPS is a much better option, as long as you don’t try to type information into it while you’re in motion. If you must read a map or make a note, pull over first.
Eating and Drinking
Eating or drinking while on the road can be more dangerous than you think. Both require you to take at least one of your hands off the wheel, as well as your eyes off the road. Instead, make sure you eat and drink before you hit the road, or give yourself time to pull over and eat.
To remain safe on the roads, you need to be mentally prepared and focused. If you haven’t slept well, are concerned you won’t make your load in time, feel nauseous, or are replaying the argument you recently had with your significant other, these internal distractions can all affect your ability to drive safely.
By taking heed of these distractions, you’ll not only keep yourself and other drivers around you safe, but ensure a long and successful career as a truck driver. For more information about distracted driving, or to apply for a CDL driver job in VA, call us today at 866-823-4519 today.