The Business of Trucks

It should reassure the average commuter; how many safety procedures are built into the business of trucking just so that it can function day to day.

As trainee truck drivers begin their learning journey by adjusting to the different feel of driving a big rig when compared to other vehicles. One aspect is the length and being aware of your large blind spots. Another is reaction time and stopping time and maintaining following distance.

Another big difference when driving truck is the brakes need to so much larger than a conventional vehicle. Even the way the brakes are applied can make all the difference. How much extra distance can depend on payload. Any liquid tanker will require a special license because the stopping distance over a regular big rig is around 30% extra.

Perhaps the aspect of driving truck that car drivers don’t think of first is that truck drivers are situated higher up with potentially a better view to any potential danger. They also have blind spots right up front. When you are too close you might not be able to observe the danger and that is when mishaps could occur.

All drivers must consider things like rain, ice and snow when deciding speed and safe following distance but truck drivers must get used to even more buffer when in inclement weather. While a truck driver is seldom at risk of dying in a crash they are more at risk of killing someone, so job safety is a priority.

The real problems come with the drivers who have to explore the Ice Roads in Alaska and Canada. Here especially is where stopping can be the difference between life and death.

When watching out for other vehicles the biggest challenges come from the fact that other drivers aren’t familiar with big rigs. Vehicles often tailgate trucks or weave in and out of traffic in a way that makes it difficult to predict their next move. It’s hard on any vehicle to deal with erratic drivers, but given the need for maximum stopping distance, it’s extra hard for truckers.

By the same token a truck causes more agitation when weaving or constantly changing lanes. If you discover a truck behaving like this you should give it a wide berth.

Trucks often accelerate at a slower rate even if they can go faster, because the dangers of navigating an intersection require time you don’t have when speeding.


With the latest of ELD or Electronic Tracking Device records any accident but remember that all computers are not the same and data needs to be interpreted. There’s too much detail contained in these “truck black boxes” to go into here, but the gist is this, truck drivers are monitored for how they drive and how long they’ve been driving so that fatigue isn’t an issue.

For obvious reasons, truck drivers oppose ELDs and prefer manual logs. But they day is fast approaching when ELDs will be required.


A dangerous good (also known as hazardous material or HazMat) may be explosives, flammable gases and liquids and even flammable solids, substances which react violently to water, poisonous materials, infections and radioactive substances. Some HazMats are so large that can cause damage to property if transported incorrectly. More HazMats are transported by truck than rail or ship.

If you are travelling hazardous material you need to have a placard on the truck which isn’t damaged, deteriorating or obscured. The placarding must comply to Hazmat standards.

The more complex the substance the more the urgency the need for a truck to be well-driven. When a dangerous substance needs to be taken from one place to another it all becomes hugely significant when problems do occur.

Specialty Trucks

While all big rig trucks, or tractor trailers have a standard design many are built for a special purpose. The fire service uses trucks made by Alexis. Marion on the other hand make garbage trucks and Oshkosh makes military trucks.

This is a small bit of the information about trucks, but we hope it helps you share the road with these lumbering giants.

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