Semis are an essential part of the supply chain for goods in the United States. These large vehicles can get cargo from shipping and train yards to their small town destinations relatively efficiently.
The people who drive these enormous vehicles have a challenging task: driving a large truck with countless controllers in varying conditions, often for long hours. Although they go through specific training, driving a semi can pull their attention in several directions.
Here’s what you should know about the distractions truck drivers face and how you can spot (and avoid) a distracted driver.
One truck, lots to do
Driving a large truck comes with more controls to keep the rig safe. Drivers need to be able to keep an eye on their truck’s systems and, in some cases, the status of the cargo they are hauling.
A truck driver may also need support from GPS software to get to where they are going. While GPS systems are often hands-free and more helpful than paper maps, these devices can also create distractions.
While you may be able to appreciate the skill that goes behind driving such a large vehicle, it is also important to note that semis drive much differently than an average vehicle.
In your car, you can typically adapt quickly to changes in traffic and other potentially dangerous situations. However, truck drivers must try to take in a lot of information at once and anticipate problems before they happen.
When truck drivers do not have their focus on the road, it can reduce the amount of time they have to make adjustments and avoid an accident.
Spotting a distracted driver
You can spot a distracted driver before you glance into their window and see their focus elsewhere. You can look for behaviors such as:
- Inability to maintain a consistent speed
- Sudden braking
- Difficulty staying in the lane
When you see a driver demonstrating these behaviors, you should give them as much space as possible and make sure you stay visible. A distracted driver may not realize that you are in their way until it is too late. Plenty of space gives them enough time to see you and respond safely.