CHAPTER 9

VISUAL SEARCH WHILE DRIVING A TRUCK

 

Introduction

 

An attentive driver is aware of everything surrounding his or her vehicle. The purpose of this chapter is to acquaint you with the skills required to conduct a fruitful visual search. By implementing a reliable scanning technique, you may gather all the data you want to make decisions on safe driving. Furthermore, it decreases fatigue.

 

A thorough visual search involves using your vehicle's mirrors correctly and looking in front, to the sides, and behind it.

 

Seeing Ahead and to the Sides

A skilled truck driver constantly checks their whole field of vision. This involves concentrating on:

 

  • The road, vehicles, and other problems (debris, etc.) ahead;

 

  • Vehicles and other problems (debris, etc.) to the left and right; and

 

  • Vehicles behind.

 

Distance scanning — You can travel securely by keeping your eyes forward. Always keep an eye out for:

 

  • Give yourself time to spot a problem;

  • Decide the best way to avoid it;

  • Look out for problematic traffic situations; and

  • Allow yourself enough time to get out of a possibly sticky situation.

 

Always keep an eye 12 to 15 seconds ahead of your car. In a metropolis, two to three blocks are equivalent to 12 to 15 seconds. Over a quarter of a mile is comparable to 12–15 seconds on the highway. You should slow down if you can't see that far in front of you.

 

You should be scanning to the sides and behind your car in addition to the front of it. Keep an eye out for traffic signs and check your car's gauges. Your eyes should be sweeping back and forth between far and close. When monitoring the area in front of you, pay close attention to anything that might alter your course of travel, such as:

 

  • Other vehicles;

  • Road signs;

  • Traffic signals;

  • Debris;

  • Animals;

  • Weather-related hazards (ice, rain, snow, etc.);

  • Intersections;

  • Work/construction zones;

  • Stopped vehicles;

  • Accidents

  • Emergency vehicles

 

Distance scanning has some advantages, including the ability to identify risks early and providing more time to react and respond to problems, including coming up with solutions to avoid them. It aids in preventing sudden halts and drastic speed shifts. Additionally, efficient scanning might lessen weariness. Your eyes are not fixed on any one thing; they are moving all the time.

 

Scanning to the sides — you should sometimes scan the sides. However, there are several occasions, such as crosswalks, junctions, and school zones, when scanning the sides is crucial.

 

Crosswalks should be approached with additional care. You should keep a closer eye on what is going on to your right, in addition to keeping an eye on the overall area. When they are closest to your car, bicycles, pedestrians, and other objects are often out of your line of sight. Additionally, keep in mind to give pedestrians the right of way while turning on the green.

 

When approaching junctions, drive gently. Look left, right, and then left once again. As you begin to approach the junction, keep scanning as you go through it.

 

Another area where extra caution is required is in school zones. Be on the lookout for kids, bikes, balls, etc. dashing into the road.

 

Your safety and the safety of others in cities depend on your ability to scan to the sides. Increased risks are created by cars parked on the shoulder, which you may not see if you are not continually monitoring. People often open their doors into traffic or stroll between vehicles without even noticing. You may prevent an accident or harm brought on by someone else's inattention by scanning.

 

Use of Mirrors

 

You can only see the back of your car via mirrors. Before adjusting your speed or position in traffic, you must check your mirrors. Every four seconds, you should check your mirrors. Additionally, utilize your mirrors to examine your car's blind zones.

 

Most tractors are equipped with two types of mirrors:

 

  • Plane or west coast; and

 

  • Convex.

 

Plane or west coast — You can see down the sides and toward the back of your trailer as well as the road behind with the help of a plane or west coast mirror. Although it doesn't provide the same broad vision as the convex mirror, it helps improve sight along the length of the trailer. The left mirror gives you a wider field of vision since it is closer and reflects a bigger picture.

 

Keep in mind that mirrors do not provide you with a complete view. Blind spots exist on both sides of your car. Lane changes, passing, and other movements become riskier as a result. Another issue that might arise is tight turns. Smaller cars and people that are close to the vehicle are invisible. Use your mirrors, signal, and wait a second before changing lanes or directions.

 

The images in your side mirror will resemble the ones you see while driving your car. In this circumstance, utilizing your plane's mirror, you need to be able to estimate the speed and separation of approaching automobiles.

 

Convex — To offer a wide-angle perspective, convex mirrors are made with an outward curve. They provide a wider vision than plane mirrors and, when properly set, substantially reduce the blind area. The finest close-up view of the sides of your car is provided by convex mirrors.

 

Convex mirrors display a distorted picture, which is one drawback. Vehicles in overtaking situations seem to be closer and smaller than they are. You must have a clear understanding of what you are seeing while utilizing this mirror. It will take some getting used to since you aren't accustomed to this "perspective" in a vehicle.

It works best when convex and planar mirrors are used together. They provide the greatest possible side and back visibility. The combination might first be a little perplexing, which is a disadvantage. Making ensuring the mirrors are regularly cleaned and adjusted may be a big help in minimizing any misunderstanding.

 

Adjusting mirrors — The right adjustment is crucial. It makes sure you get the finest possible vision of your vehicle's sides and back. Before making any alterations, make sure your car is straight.

 

Left side plane/west coast — You should see the trailer body on the inside vertical edge of the mirror. The rest of the mirror should show what is next to and behind the trailer.

 

Left side convex — You should see part of the trailer on the inside vertical edge of the mirror. The top, horizontal edge, of the mirror should show a point on the ground that is about 35 feet away.

 

Right side plane/west coast —The trailer body should be visible along the inner vertical edge of the mirror. The remainder of the mirror need properly reflect what is in front of and behind the trailer. On the horizontal bottom edge of the mirror, you should be able to see a point on the ground approximately 60 feet distant.

 

Right side convex —On the inner vertical edge of the mirror, you should be able to view a portion of the trailer. A spot on the ground that is approximately 65 feet distant should be visible in the top horizontal border of the mirror. A spot on the ground that is approximately 8 feet distant should be seen in the bottom, horizontal border of the mirror.

 

Fender mirrors, which are located on the right and left corners of the front fenders, are also used by certain automobiles. Businesses have also begun investigating the usage of specific collision prevention technologies. Although these two kinds of visual aids are not found on all commercial motor vehicles, they do provide a higher degree of peripheral vision, which often results in safer driving situations.

 

Seeing to the Rear

 

Use your mirrors to keep an eye on the back of your car at all times. When keeping an eye on the back of your car, there are numerous things you should be watching for.

 

Verify the security of the load and the goods. Watch out for fallen or unsecured goods.

 

Watch out for your tires. Keep an eye out for any possible issues, such as tire fires or flat or damaged tires.

 

Look for any cars next to your trailer and tractor. Be on guard. Continually be aware of what is happening.

 

When changing lanes or forced to slow down fast or unexpectedly, use your mirrors. When changing lanes, merging, or making turns, one must check their mirrors. When approaching alleyways and crossroads, it's crucial to use mirrors. When there is a traffic backup and when a car is parked or halted, it is more important to utilize the mirrors.

 

Summary

 

You have studied the abilities needed to carry out a successful visual search in this chapter. This entails using your vehicle's mirrors correctly and adjusting them, as well as looking in front of, to the sides of, and behind them.