Defensive driving is driving so as to prevent accidents in spite of the incorrect
actions of others or adverse driving conditions, such as weather, traffic,
lighting, vehicle or road condition, or the driver's physical or mental state.
The defensive driver assumes that other drivers may make mistakes and is on guard
in the event an error is made.
Your safety program should include defensive driver training on the proper way
to prevent intersection accidents. Crossing intersections with long vehicles
presents problems that automobile drivers do not have. Because of their length
and their slow acceleration, trucks and buses take much more time to cross and
clear intersecting roads than do automobiles. And at night, the sides of long
vehicles may not be conspicuous to approaching drivers.
Drivers of large vehicles must recognize these problems and take special care
when crossing intersections, particularly when they are at uncontrolled intersections.
Here are some areas that should be addressed regarding defensive driving and tips to
help your drivers become defensive drivers.
- Have your drivers been trained regarding safe procedures when crossing intersecting roads?
- Do you have a step-by-step procedure for approaching, entering and traversing intersections?
- Do you know if your drivers are practicing safe procedures when crossing intersections?
- Do you periodically have qualified personnel ride with your drivers to assess their driving habits?
- Are vehicles equipped with proper lights and reflective devices to enhance visibility?
- Do drivers perform a pre-trip inspection to assure that all vehicle lights are functioning properly?
- Are drivers aware of the concept of a preventable accident? A preventable accident is one in which the driver failed to exercise every reasonable precaution to prevent the accident. This is irrespective of the extent of property damage or personal injury, to whom it occurred or the location of the accident.
To be a defensive driver while crossing intersections, your drivers should:
- Approach intersections assuming that cross traffic may not obey traffic control devices and anticipate the need for avoidance.
- Allow enough time to clear the entire intersection with rear of the vehicle without interfering with cross traffic.
- Be especially cautious crossing uncontrolled intersections at night with large vehicles, as approaching drivers may see the vehicle’s headlights from the side, but may not realize a long trailer is following.
- Keep vehicle lights and reflective devices clean and assure that lights are operational.
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