Commercial Trucking: Essential Deliveries
We share some insights about commercial trucking, and outline everything you need to know about driving alongside them.
Do you ever think about where everything in your home comes from? How next-day delivery works? What it took to get produce from Mexico to your Canadian grocery store? With the current stay-at-home orders as well as the rise in e-commerce, moving goods has never been more essential. We shine a spotlight on this essential service, as well as offer up some tips on how to share the road safely with this essential fleet.
Moving goods around the world synchronicity of logistics, pulling together a large network of rail, aviation, marine, and ground transport. Industry data values the global logistics business at $4.3 trillion, with $500 billion accounting for courier and express delivery. Links in the chain are connected by distribution hubs, responsible for the organization and deployment of shipments.
Adding to the network are complexities such as customs and inspections, all while working against the clock for deliveries. Some trucks are refrigerated, carrying goods that have very specific delivery windows (avocados, anyone?). Margins for error are thin, while e-commerce has exponentially increased the volume of packages, often with promises of short delivery windows. Upticks in orders correspond to a great number of delivery vehicles on the road, all rushing to dispatch your goods.
While the fast pace of freight may seem like a lot of moving parts, commercial vehicles are a highly regulated industry — in Canada, this includes federal and provincial rules, as well as municipal by-laws, all designed to ensure safe passage throughout the one million kilometres of Canadian roadways. Throughout the COVID-19 response, certain restrictions have been eased, allowing for the rapid delivery of essential items.
Sharing the Road
While you may not be planning on driving a commercial truck anytime soon, there is a high likelihood you will share the road with one at some point. Knowing the basics about these oversized vehicles will help you pilot around them successfully, and safely. A few things to keep in mind on the road include:
Most trucks are required to engage speed limiters when hauling heavy loads. In Ontario, this is capped at 105 km/h, which translates into safety, environmental, and cost-savings benefits. If you’re on the highway, anticipate that the truck won’t be accelerating past that speed. Slow down or move over to keep a safe distance.
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Due to the length and size of trucks — or lack of windows on smaller commercial vans — blind spots may be larger for commercial drivers. Reminder, blind spots may include behind the vehicle as well. To maximize your visibility to these commercial vehicles, pass through blind spots quickly and safely. Avoiding tailgating is also essential — always maintain a safe and visible distance!
Semi-trailer trucks can be up to 75 feet (23 meters) long when you account for the rig and trailer. Turning these behemoths require a lot more room, and you can do your part by staying behind the truck, even if you’re in the lane next to it. The truck may swing into adjacent lanes and will need that space for a clear turn. Stay alert, and don’t assume where the truck will go — these maneuvers aren’t as simple as they look!
The sheer size of trucks can create turbulence as you pass, and may also kick up debris from the weather or road conditions. Maintaining a strong grip on the steering wheel and anticipating some debris coming your way will help you when passing large vehicles.
Beyond blind spots, larger trucks need space for stopping and braking. In slippery road conditions, the weight of a truck’s load will impact their stopping ability. They may have less traction, and an increased likelihood of slipping. Give trucks their room, especially when coming to a stop light; they require much greater distances to come to a complete stop. When stopped behind a truck, give yourself some extra room behind you. Not only will this ensure you’re out of their blind spot, but it’ll also safeguard you should the truck roll back slightly when the driver disengages the brakes.
Commercial trucks are an important part of our world, and an essential service to keep our families fed, clothed, and entertained. When sharing the road with them keep these tips in mind to keep yourself safe, and make their jobs a little easier.