Driving in a major city can be stressful in a passenger car, let alone in a semi-truck. Urban driving presents many hazards like congested traffic, narrow streets, sharp turns, and pedestrians. These challenges mean truckers must be extra cautious to avoid accidents and delivery delays.
Here are five tips for city driving in a semi-truck to help you stay safe:
1. Practice Effective Trip Planning
Effective trip planning is one of the best ways to safely navigate city driving in a big rig. Cities often have roads that are impassable by semi-trucks, which is crucial to know ahead of time. Planning your route before you leave and using a truck-specific GPS while driving will help you get in and out of the city without incident. It is also helpful to check the weather report before you leave for your destination so you can prepare yourself and your vehicle for the conditions.
2. Keep a Safe Following Distance
Keeping a safe following distance is another precaution to take on city roads. Since there are a lot of vehicles on the road, traffic tends to slow down and stop frequently, and you need to be ready for it. Semi-trucks need more time and space to stop than four-wheelers, so focus on the vehicle ahead and watch for brake lights to avoid rear-ending someone.
3. Be Alert at Intersections
Intersections can be dangerous for all vehicles, especially semi-trucks, so it is essential to stay alert when you approach one in a large city. If you see a red light ahead, slow down early and carefully. When you arrive at a yellow light, it might be tempting to try to zoom through it, but it’s a better plan to avoid causing an accident or getting a ticket. Truck drivers should also be cautious when the light turns green. City drivers may run the red, and a stray pedestrian could still be crossing the street, so you will need to accelerate slowly and be on the lookout.
4. Change Lanes Safely
Visibility is important each time you get behind the wheel of your truck but becomes even more critical when navigating city streets. You must always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you plan to change lanes. Before you do so, check your side and rearview mirrors often, make sure you have enough space, and signal your intention early. Trying to zip over into the other lane or jump in front of another vehicle could cause an accident.
5. Stay Calm
Driving in a big city can aggravate even the most patient drivers. However, it’s best to try to stay calm no matter how frustrated you may get. Driving angry will only increase your chances of getting into an accident. Just remember your training and that you are capable of navigating any situation that the road throws at you.
The First Step To Your Truck Driving Career
The first step to your trucking career is earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a reputable organization like Phoenix Truck Driving School. We have schools in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and our programs prepare students for the CDL test with a combination of classroom learning and hands-on experience.