Speed Kills

We’ve all heard the saying “Speed Kills”, and it’s even more relevant with semi-trucks. They take much longer to come to a stop at any speed, upwards of 150 meters from 100 km/h to 0 km/h.

If you’re too close to the vehicle in front of you, you won’t be able to stop before running into them in an emergency braking situation. Your safest choice is to pay attention to traffic as far ahead of you as you can see, and to stay at least 6 seconds behind the vehicle ahead of you.

To determine if you’re at least 6 seconds, watch for the back of the vehicle ahead pass a stationary object such as a power pole, bridge, or billboard, and start counting “1 steamboat, 2 steamboat”, etc. i

f you get to the same point before finishing “6 steamboat”, you’re too close. Keeping the 6-second gap can be a real problem as people will cut in front of you into r “safe space”, so you need to be mindful and adjust your speed and safety gap accordingly. Another place excess speed is a problem is when cornering.

Most on and off-ramps have posted speed limits and some corners on the highway have posted speed limits. Never, under any circumstances should this speed limit be exceeded. In reality, in a truck, it’s likely too fast. These posted speeds are for private personal vehicles under ideal weather and road conditions.

When you encounter a ramp with a posted speed limit, you’re best bet is to take the corner at least 10 km/h lower than the posted limit. If the load you have is top heavy, such as hanging meat or a liquid bulk tanker, take the corners as if your grandmother is in the passenger seat in her best Sunday dress holding an uncovered bowl of gravy.

Don Taylor has been a professional driver since March 1985.  In 1994 he made the jump to driving tractor trailers, and has accumulated over 3.5 million miles, including over 4 years of driving turnpike doubles in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.  He is currently hauling flat decks across North America.