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Safety first

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The success of transporting goods from one place to another via commercial vehicles relies on the degree of safety drivers undertake. Since commercial vehicles usually take a larger space on the road, it entails a bigger responsibility for drivers. Honda Philippines, on its Web site, states that most “traffic accidents are due to human errors that may sum up into two major causes: lack of proper safety attitude; and inadequate skills to operate motor vehicles.”

Safety is definitely an important thing any driver must not forget. Here are a few things to keep in mind when riding a commercial vehicle.

Be prepared. Get updated about the weather, the road conditions, and the route to be taken before you hit the road. Prepare also for unexpected situations that might spring up while you’re riding. Regularly check your vehicle based on BLOWBAGETS (Brake, Lights, Oil, Water, Battery, Air, Gas, Engine, Tire, and Self). Since riding commercial vehicles often take long hours, it is important for drivers to get enough rest before driving and to take breaks when tired.

Buckle up. As simple as it sounds, always making sure your seatbelt is clipped around you is already a life-saver, “especially during car collisions, as it spreads the force of the impact over a wider area of the body and puts less stress on any one part,” online vehicle marketplace Carmudi PH wrote in an article.

Turn on signals. Signaling is an important means of showing other drivers your intent to turn, change lanes, back up. It is also a vital way for drivers of larger vehicles to communicate their presence, particularly before and during a maneuver.

Be alert. Being on the road necessitates alertness. As stated on their Web site, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) advises truck and bus drivers “to be constantly vigilant to detect unexpected road conditions, distracted drivers, and motorists who don’t understand how commercial vehicles operate.” Watch out for work/construction zones and roadside hazards, since caution is more needed in these areas.

Remove distractions. A large vehicle needs your undivided attention to the road. Being distracted by mobile phones or anything that takes your eyes off the road puts you at risk. FMCSA advises that it’s better to get to the nearest exit or pullover in such situations.

Give space. “The bigger and heavier the vehicle, the harder it is to pump the brakes and stop,” writes Gregory Miller in the Web site of American transportation company Celadon. Therefore, it is necessary to distance your vehicle. Apply the three-second rule, leaving at least three seconds of space between you and the vehicle in front.

Take it slow. Riding the vehicle within a road’s speed limit, as driving coach Don Palmer shares in Shell Philippines online, “gives you plenty of time and distance to respond to anything you may encounter.” In addition, take extra care when riding under tough or unfavorable weather or road conditions. Slow down at curves or ramps, lest spills, rollovers, or crashes occur. — Adrian Paul B. Conoza