It is critical that you know the dimensions of your cab and trailer to avoid accidents
Feeling a sense of safety while on the road is priceless, and here at Mesilla Valley Transportations, we understand the importance of it. That’s why we want to take a moment to provide some helpful tips that will give you peace of mind while navigating the roads.
As you know, Mesilla Valley Transportation cares deeply about the safety and well-being of our drivers, their families, and everyone sharing the roads with them. That’s why we encourage every driver to follow the five easy steps of the “Smith System” for safe driving. By following these simple steps, our drivers can not only protect themselves but also promote the safety of others on the road. Remember, safe driving isn’t just about you, it’s about everyone around you.
Now, who in the world was Mr. Smith, and what made him such a great driver?
In World War II, Harold Smith operated motor vehicles for the Navy, and he opened Detroit’s first safe driving school in 1948. His system is very simple, and all the basic good safety habits have not changed since he opened that first school.
Good Habit #1: Aim High
Instead of looking at the taillights of the vehicle a few feet in front of you, look far ahead on the road, all around, and think about the vehicles behind you. Look around and think about the vehicles behind or beside you. If you look a mile down the road and you see nothing but brake lights, do not speed up. Anticipate the traffic delay so that you slow down smoothly. This will give the vehicles behind you more time to slow down as well.
Good Habit #2: Get The Big Picture
“Be aware of your surroundings at all times” may seem obvious to say, but any distracted driver on the roadway is as dangerous as an intoxicated one. More and more, drivers are erratic, angry, and impatient. If you see a car darting in and out of the lanes trying to get somewhere in a hurry, maintain your distance and be prepared for their next potential move. EXPECT people to do wrong or make aggressive moves on the road, and you’ll keep yourself, your truck, and all others on the roadway out of danger. Always leave a safe driving distance between you and the drivers around you. Remember to watch and anticipate other drivers’ behavior, and you’ll be able to smoothly slow down when other drivers are too close.
Good Habit #3: Keep Your Eyes Moving
A diver’s worst enemy is slipping into “the trance.” You know what I’m talking about. After 200 miles of flat, open Iowa cornfields, every human will slowly drift into that wide-eyed stare where you begin dreaming about twisters, the Wizard of Oz, or aliens… Don’t let that happen! How do you avoid it? Consistent eye movement prevents your body from entering the trance state, keeping you alert to every driving condition ahead of you or beside you. Even if you’ve made the route a hundred times, safely look all around for new features on the left and right, check your mirrors constantly, and always “aim high” down the road to check for possible hazards.
Good Habit #4: Leave Yourself an Emergency Out
The best emergency out is always a big, safe following distance. If the vehicle in front of you suddenly slams on the brakes or if someone’s beautiful green velvet couch suddenly falls out of the back of the truck in front of you, you have more than enough space to stop without panic. What if it’s rush hour and every minivan in the state of South Carolina keeps darting right in front of you in your safe distance space? Well, you must reduce speed and anticipate the actions of other drivers. If possible, avoid being boxed in by other drivers. Always drive with a “what if” and “where will I go if” emergency driving strategy.
Good Habit #5: Make Sure They See You
You may think, hmmm, I’m driving an 18-wheeler, how could they NOT see me?? Always assume that the other driver is potentially distracted. Do not assume they see your truck or know your intentions until you are certain they see you. For example, if you put on your left turn signal and a car is approaching at high speed in the left lane, don’t assume they will slow down to let you in. In fact, most drivers actually speed up so that you cannot change lanes! What are you supposed to do? Be patient. Remember, safety is more important than rushing to change lanes. Eventually, some kind, lawful driver will let you in. If you pass another vehicle and enter their blind spot, watch them closely. Be ready to honk if they don’t see you coming. Always assume they do not see you and be alert!