Situational awareness, or being aware of your surroundings, is an important factor in everything we do. A few examples of situational awareness include identifying trip hazards while walking, being aware of potentially dangerous moving parts when operating or working on machinery, and paying attention and staying focused while operating a vehicle.
The complexity of anything going on inside a vehicle coupled with things that may be happening outside can make being focused and aware of your surroundings while driving a challenge. Professional drivers
must pay attention and plan to react to a multitude of potential hazards including the vehicle itself and how it is performing, posted speed limits, school or construction zones, other distracted motorists, pedestrians,
and countless other factors. It is extremely important to minimize distractions and remain focused. Below are three important items to be aware of when driving.
Every vehicle has different characteristics such as its size, weight, blind spots, and general operation. Be aware of the size of your vehicle, the load you are transporting, and your blind spots. Leave yourself adequate stopping distance. Scan mirrors frequently, drive defensively, and plan for the unexpected.
Cargo can often vary and change the dynamics of how the vehicle handles such as being top-heavy or needed stopping distance. Ensure the cargo is properly secured and its weight distributed. Pay close attention to any irregular-shaped cargo and potentially dangerous situations that may cause an accident or claim. Examples include low roof lines or overhangs from buildings, overhead power lines, overpasses, parked vehicles, or pedestrians.
Avoid distractions such as eating, drinking, or talking on the phone. Ensure you have had sufficient rest for the day, are not ill, and feel up to driving. Avoid any other task that takes your eyes and focus away from the road.
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