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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Driving Habits -Ken Davey

Habits are safer than rules; you don’t have to watch them. And you don’t have to keep them either. They keep you. Frank Crane
The same as you drive your truck, your habits drive you. To a large extent you will be a good or bad driver simply because of the habits that you have when behind the wheel.
Professional driving bad habits can be broken into 2 types. The first type is really just sloppiness. They are shortcuts taken because proper behavior was not well ingrained when the driver was learning to drive truck. They include things like not scanning the road ahead and not checking mirrors or driving with one hand on the wheel. Truck drivers should be actively scanning the road ahead, rotating from one mirror to the other about every 12 to 15 seconds. Unless this habit is ingrained, it becomes easy to passively watch the road ahead instead of actively analyzing what you see or slouch with a single hand on the wheel.
The other type is bad habits picked up by the driver because they provide some type of perceived benefit to the driver. Note, I said perceived benefit because even though the behavior makes sense on one level it doesn’t make sense as a whole. The behaviors can be illegal and dangerous but somehow “make sense” to the “bad driver”. A driver starts making a decision based on a calculated risk analysis, balancing the joy of the benefit against the risk of getting caught and the risk of getting into an accident. Eventually, the action becomes an automatic habit rather than a decision made and the driver does not realize the true risk of his actions. Here are some of these perceived benefit bad habits and some new ways to think about them.
Speeding. The misconception is that that speeding saves time and since time is money, it saves money too. Wrong, especially in this age of high fuel costs, speed is the enemy of ecomomy. Speed has a hidden cost in that it will wear out your truck (and you) faster. I know that you can speed for a long time without receiving a speeding ticket but it will happen. You can be further penalized because speed also screws up your log book making you vulnerable to HOS tickets. Speeding tickets will increase your insurance costs and make you less hirable to customers and trucking companies. Speed will get you into accident that you could have avoided at a legal rate of speed and make you responsible for accidents.
Not wearing a seatbelt. I hear 2 arguments against wearing a seatbelt. The First is that it is uncomfortable. Second, that it is unsafe. They always have a story like ‘I knew a guy who knew a guy who had an accident who lived but he would have died if he was wearing his seatbelt’. Seatbelts save lives. End of sentence. A seatbelt will keep you in control of your vehicle during difficult maneuvers. It will keep you in the safest part of your vehicle during a collision or rollover. Getting a seat belt ticket will get you points on your abstract, raise your insurance rates and tell prospective employers that you can’t follow rules. If your seatbelt is really uncomfortable see the dealer about an extender or any aftermarket parts dealer for holders and pads to get a comfy fit.
Further examples of this “perceived benefit” type of bad habit are: