CHAPTER 10

Professional Communication of a Truck Driver

 

Introduction

 

You will learn about the fundamentals of communication in this chapter. When it comes to interacting with others, this means following the proper protocols and procedures on your end as well as learning how to decipher other people's messages.

 

Due to the constant increase in the number of incidences of road rage over the last several years, this subject has gained even greater significance. Poor communication that is seen by another motorist as hostile might turn into a hazardous road rage incident. Effective communication abilities may greatly reduce the likelihood of incidences of road rage.

 

Communicating Intent

 

Other drivers aren't minded readers like you are. If you don't communicate well, they won't be able to guess what you're going to do. It's crucial to indicate your objectives. Simple ways to express your purpose include:

 

  • Turn signals;

 

  • Headlights;

 

  • Four-way emergency flashers;

 

  • Flashing brake lights; and

 

  • Altering vehicle position.

 

Turn signals —Your intention to change directions is signaled by your turn signals. Whenever you intend to:

 

  • Turn;

 

  • Change lanes;

 

  • Pass another vehicle;

 

  • Merge;

 

  • Exit;

 

  • Park parallel; or

 

  • Move from the curb into the roadway.

 

Even if you don't see any other cars nearby, turn signals should always be used in these circumstances. Keep in mind that your car does have blind zones. Unobservable vehicles are the most hazardous. You should abide by the standard turn signal rules listed below.

 

  • Signal early — Signal before making a turn or lane change. When turning in city traffic, provide a half-block warning. On the roadway, provide a 500-foot warning. A minimum of three blinks of your turn signal are required before making a turn or lane change.

 

  • Signal continuously — To turn safely, keep both hands on the wheel. Reverse the signal when your movement is finished. After making the turn or lane change, don't forget to switch off the signal.

 

Slowing down — It will sometimes be necessary for you to signal to other vehicles that you are slowing down. Particularly when approaching a steep incline, getting ready for a turn, or pausing to load, unload, or park, other vehicles may not anticipate you slowing down. Drivers that are following your car should be alerted with a few mild taps on the brake pedal, which will cause your brake lights to flash. Use your four-way emergency flashers if you are stopped or moving extremely slowly.

 

You must alert other drivers as soon as the flow of traffic is slowing or stopped because of the size of your vehicle and the potential visibility issues other drivers may have in front of it. There are several circumstances, such as on the highway or amid a block, when other motorists don't anticipate you to slow down or stop.

 

Directing traffic — This is one thing you should never do. When it is safe to pass another vehicle or draw away, some drivers may attempt to be considerate by flashing their lights, honking their horns, or using hand gestures. This might result in an accident, harm, property damage, and even responsibility. If you gave someone a cue to move, you might very well be held accountable for their error.

 

Communicating Presence

 

Even though your car is visible, other people may not see it. Communication of your presence may aid in the avoidance of an accident.

 

When passing a pedestrian or bike, always assume they are unaware of your presence and might swerve in front of your car at any moment. Move your car to the left of your lane, softly touch the horn, or, at night, flash your headlights on and off when it is safe and permitted to do so (if it is safe and legal). If you can, honk your horn or flash your lights far away to avoid startling the pedestrian or biker.

 

Your headlights should be on from nightfall till daybreak. Additionally, they have to be lit up whether it's snowing, pouring, or foggy outside. This makes you more visible to other drivers and aids in your ability to view the road. Remember that if the weather calls for the use of windshield wipers, several states have legislation mandating the use of headlights.

 

If you must stop and pull off the road, switch on the four-way emergency flashers right away.

 

Warning devices — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), under Section 392.22 (WARNING DEVICES), SPECIFY WHEN AND HOW WARNING DEVICES MUST BE SET OUT ON THE HIGHWAY.

 

Sec. 392.22 of the FMCSRs states that you must turn on your car's hazard warning flashers right away if it is stopped on the traveled area of the road or the shoulder of the road. After that, you have ten minutes to place emergency alert systems.

 

Holding the objects in front of you will make you more noticeable to oncoming cars. You should be on the lookout for automobiles along the road that may not spot you.

 

Depending on where the car is stopped, the position of the device changes. In Chapter 28, this will be discussed in further depth.

 

Using your horn — Using your horn to alert others of your presence Only sound your horn when required, such as to assist avoid an accident. It might be harmful if used carelessly. Always keep in mind that a gentle touch conveys a far different message than a loud explosion.

 

Always use the electronic horn on your car. The air horn is quite loud and might startle or distract other people. The horn should be used to signal your presence and to sound an urgent alarm in case of danger. It should only be used for proper reasons since it is not a toy.

 

CB radio — If used responsibly and within the law, the citizen's band (CB) radio may be a useful communication tool. When used properly, CBs can:

 

    • Provide information about weather and traffic conditions;

 

    • Notify authorities about accidents or other road hazards; and

 

    • Be used to obtain directions or other local information (although this is not advised).

 

The CB is not a toy and should be used properly, much like your car's horn. Never engage in idle conversation or use foul language on the CB.

Mobile telephone — Mobile phone: When used responsibly and lawfully, a mobile phone may be a useful communication tool, similar to a CB.

 

The FMCSRs' Section 392.82 forbids using a hand-held mobile phone while operating a commercial motor vehicle. Utilizing a hand-held mobile phone involves:

 

      • Using a cell phone with at least one hand while doing voice communication;

 

      • using more than one button to dial or answer a mobile phone; or

 

      • Reaching for a phone while driving such that doing so forces the driver to move out of the seat belt-restrained driving posture.

 

It is permitted to use a hand-held mobile phone to communicate with law enforcement or other emergency services when it is essential.

 

Texting —Another type of communication that is becoming more popular is texting. The FMCSRs' Section 392.80 forbids texting while operating a commercial motor vehicle. When communicating with law enforcement officers or other emergency services, texting is permitted.

 

Communication From Others

 

Communication is a two-way street, as the adage goes. You must express your objectives clearly to drive safely and professionally, and it's equally crucial that you pay attention to and comprehend other drivers' communications.

 

There are additional, more subdued messages you need to be aware of while driving in addition to the obvious ones (turn signals, lights, horns, etc.).

 

For instance, a driver's movement while operating a vehicle, such as moving in their seat or checking their reflection, may signal potential directional changes.

 

You may learn more about a driver's intentions by keeping an eye on other cars. A sudden slowing down or a little shift in lane position might be signs of a direction change. Front wheels turning or visible exhaust from a parked automobile might be signs that the car is about to back out of a spot..

 

Keep an eye out for others' overt and covert signals so you can foresee and head off any issues.

 

 

Summary

 

You have studied the value of communication when it comes to road safety in this chapter. This entails knowing how people may communicate with you and expressing your objectives to them in an acceptable manner