Safe Driving Tips from Truck Drivers
We peel back the curtain to see what we can learn about being safer drivers.
If you stopped all the vehicles in this snapshot, how many of the drivers could say they've never been in an accident?
"I don't take it lightly," says truck driver Michael Sheeds.
Sheeds could say it.
"Every day is different. It's dangerous out there," says UPS Driver Sam Perales.
Same for Perales.
And both men are pushing the odds because they drive for a living.
Sheeds, who lives in Texas, drives for Werner Enterprises. He's been accident-free for 26 years. And how many miles?
"A little over 3.4 million," Sheeds said.
He even has a truck stop named after him.
"The petrol in San Antonio, Texas is the Micheal Sheeds Shopping Center," Sheeds said.
"Everybody is in a hurry, but my advice is to leave a big safe cushion. That way if you have to stop, you have plenty of time to stop. If you're tailgating, you won't make it," Perales said.
Perales has been driving for UPS for nearly 42 years.
"See the big picture and leave a good cushion between me and the person in front of me," Perales said.
Both truck drivers admit they've had close calls, but are always prepared to act if something goes wrong.
For Micheal Sheeds, he suggests for all drivers have a better sense of humor on the road and don't be in a rush.
"One of my philosophies is that it's better to laugh than to cry," Sheeds said.
"The cellphone. The cellphone drives me nuts," Perales said.
Perales sees more distracted drivers now than even a decade ago, which makes it even more imperative to be prepared for the unexpected.
Especially since a truck cannot stop on a dime.
"I just go out there and do what I have to do. When I get back, I say, 'Yeah. Another safe day. I made it home,'" Perales said.
Which is the ultimate goal for all of us.
Both men have regular routes. Michael with Werner drives daily between Dallas and Laredo.
Sam with UPS drives packages everyday from south Omaha to a truck stop near Iowa City, and then swaps trailers with another driver from Chicago.