Distracted driving is any activity (including fatigue and illness) that diverts your attention away from driving. Truck drivers must devote their full attention to driving. Any non-driving activity is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
Check out the types of distractions along with defense techniques.
RECOGNIZE THE HAZARDS
- MENTAL (COGNITIVE) DISTRACTIONS. Mental distractions occur when a driver’s mind is focused on something besides driving. Examples include daydreaming, talking to a passenger or on a phone, fatigue, or being preoccupied with a family issue.
- VISUAL DISTRACTIONS. Visual distractions can be anything viewed inside or outside the cab that diverts a driver’s focus away from driving. Examples include looking away too long to read a billboard or road sign, gawking at a passing crash scene, or reading a text on your phone.
- MANUAL DISTRACTIONS. Manual distractions are a driver using one or both hands to perform a secondary activity while driving, such as texting, eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, reading a map, or reaching for an item dropped on the floor.
KNOW THE DEFENSE
- PUT AWAY MOBILE DEVICES. Before placing the vehicle in motion, silence mobile devices and keep them out of sight. Arrange a time to call your dispatcher and family each day and let messages go to voicemail. Call back when safely parked.
- AVOID EATING AND DRINKING WHILE DRIVING. Eat and drink during breaks, not while driving. Schedule your trip accordingly, in shorter segments, so that you are not distracted by thirst or hunger.
- RESOLVE ISSUES BEFORE GETTING BEHIND THE WHEEL. Do not brood on issues while driving. Resolve problems before leaving or pull over in a safe place to address the issue so you can focus your full attention on driving.
- BE ATTENTIVE TO THE ROAD AHEAD. If you have to look away from the road ahead, make it a quick glance, then return your focus to the road ahead. Avoiding distractions allows you to identify hazards faster, react more quickly, and provides more time to stop the truck safely.
- AVOID FATIGUE. Get plenty of rest and avoid heavy meals before driving. Do not take medications that cause drowsiness before driving. If feeling ill or fatigued, pull over in a safe place to recover.
Source: Great West Casualty Company