There are big differences between driving a standard passenger vehicle and driving a big truck. Because of those differences, truck drivers need additional training and licensure that other drivers aren’t required to have. A Commercial Driver’s License is required for truck drivers in Tennessee and shows that drivers have the mandatory skills to operate big trucks safely on public roadways and in the presence of other vehicles.
Essential Truck Driving Skills
Truck drivers who receive their CDLs and pass other supplementary training courses required by their employer learn skills that include:
Driving a manual transmission
The majority of big trucks use manual transmissions. Truck drivers must become well-acquainted with operating manual transmissions before they ever head out on the road. In addition, truck drivers also must learn when it is operate to shift into lower gears and how to handle inclines, declines, and heavy traffic without stalling or damaging their transmissions.
Proper braking distance
Because trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, trucks have substantially different stopping times than cars. In fact, many trucks take up to 50 percent longer to come to a complete stop than other passenger vehicles. That means truck drivers must receive extensive training to learn how to anticipate scenarios that will require them to stop or slow down without running into the back of vehicles in front of them.
Proper turning radius
Trucks that are equipped with large trailers are exceptionally difficult to turn—especially in heavy traffic. Truck drivers are required to have the skill, knowledge, and focus necessary to make tight turns in heavy traffic and be aware of the position of their trailers at all times. Inexperienced or unlicensed truck drivers are much more likely to jackknife and cause serious accidents than truck drivers who have received proper training.
Trip planning and vehicle inspection
Truck drivers are required to abide by highway laws that designate which roadways are safe for trucks. That means truck drivers often have to plan out their routes in advance in order to avoid any tunnels, bridges, or narrow roadways that are impassable or dangerous for trucks to cross. In addition, truck drivers are also required to know how to properly inspect their vehicles before every trip by checking the tires, brakes, and all trailer connections.
Working schedule and driver logs
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has laws in place that prevent truck drivers from working long hours that could cause them to become exhausted or sleep-deprived behind the wheel. Truck drivers who aren’t well-rested are much more likely to cause accidents. That’s why truck drivers learn how to maintain a healthy working schedule and how to maintain their driver logs that they must present at the end of each trip.
Driving in urban areas
Driving a big truck is difficult enough, but the level of focus and skill required to navigate one in tight spaces such as those found in urban areas can be extremely difficult. Truck drivers must learn how to park their trucks and maneuver in parking lots and narrow roads that are commonly found in big cities before they’re licensed to drive.
Although truck drivers are often well-trained before they hit the roadway, some are hired with little to no training, while others ignore their training to increase their profits. If you were injured by a truck driver that you suspect was being negligent behind the wheel, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your accident-related expenses, including your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
Contact the McMinnville truck accident lawyers at Matt Hardin Law today. Just dial fill out a free online form.