Date Posted

December 21, 2022

Recognizing the right skills and attitudes needed to share the road with less experienced drivers

Dave Elniski, AMTA Industry Advisor, Safety & Compliance

Truckers and other professional drivers share their workspace with drivers of all different skill levels.  It isn’t always obvious who has experience and who does not, especially under ideal conditions when traffic is steady.

But, inclement weather and busy roadways cause different people to react in different ways.  Those who are confident in their abilities may be frustrated by the slow, cautious driving of others.  On the other hand, those driving more slowly are probably frustrated by the faster drivers around them.

Driving a heavy commercial vehicle like a tractor-trailer requires skill and hard work.  To do it as a professional, though, requires more.  The professional must choose to act as a courteous, safety-minded driver concerned for their own wellbeing – and the wellbeing of those around them.

Large vehicles are intimidating, and some drivers are quick to call out a trucker for dangerous behaviour when, in reality, they weren’t doing anything wrong.  This is because what is considered dangerous by one person may not be to another.  As professionals, we have to acknowledge that the opinions and feelings of others matter, and we need to drive in a way that is efficient while still doing what we can to make others around us feel safe.

This means doing things like giving generous following distances – even if it means someone else might cut in.  It means not passing at times when we know, as we pass, we’ll kick up so much spray or snow or rock chips that we create hazards for the vehicles we pass.  And professional drivers never use their vehicle or themselves as a way to express anger and aggression.  Such dangerous driving behaviours have no place in Alberta’s trucking and busing industries.

In other words, a true professional isn’t just out there for themselves.  They care about helping those around them also get safely to their destinations, even if it means slowing down at times.  Professionals can make a difference by thinking about everyone out on the road and about how we want to represent ourselves and our industry.

Need Help?  Contact AMTA

AMTA can provide carriers with guidance on the information presented in this bulletin.  If you have any questions, please contact AMTA and our experienced staff will be happy to help.  For your safety and compliance questions, please email Workplace Support Services (WSS) directly at wss@amta.ca.

For more updates like this on a variety of topics related to the trucking industry, please sign up for our eNews.