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Ride-Along: Tips on Reducing Risks for Truck Drivers While on the Road

Marc Moncion gets into the cabin with you!

An avid transportation industry expert and supporter, Marc is genuinely interested in learning how ever-growing cities and increasing traffic, new technologies and fleet safety practices and policies are affecting truck drivers today. Having decades of experience in truck driving, serving as a DOT/MTO inspector, as well as heading fleet safety departments, Marc has faced these changes first hand throughout his career.

Recently, Marc joined one of the most tenured drivers at APPS Transport (one of the leading Toronto-based transportation companies) for a ride along. Bob Zabek has been with APPS for 20+ years and is not planning to retire any time soon. He has seen the industry go through drastic changes in terms of stricter rules, digitization and increasing traffic.

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Marc and Bob spent a day together exchanging industry knowledge, insights and opinions on ‘A Day in the Life of a Trucker’ to Kingston, Ontario and back. They discussed how increasing traffic on the highways and aggressive driving habits from smaller vehicles are putting additional strain on truck drivers to stay safe while on the road.

Have you ever noticed how many light duty trucks are driving on highways with unsecured ladders and other equipment in their pick-ups? In the business of long-hauling goods and cargo, Bob finds himself under a lot of scrutiny and regulations from the authorities to properly secure his loads. Do the same rules apply to non-commercial drivers?

In our first episode of Marc’s Ride-A-Long Series, Bob shares how he had to change his driving performance to the ever-changing regulations, to using the ELD to log his hours, to how other drivers on the roads are creating dangerous situations for truck drivers and more. Watch it below!


Here are 16 tips from our experts on how to improve driver training and increase fleet safety:

Guy Broderick is a Driver Trainer at APPS Transport, who works closely with Bob Zabek. Guy is a tenured professional truck driver and industry expert. He has dedicated his career to sharing best practices and driver training techniques to help truck drivers remain compliant and improve overall fleet safety. A safe fleet is more likely to get the green leave light at the Truck Inspection Station!

Together, Marc Moncion and Guy Broderick share Fleet Safety Tips to help avoid violations and improve on-road safety for all users:

  • Look at least 15-20 seconds down the road to see what is happening ahead of you. That means looking at least 1 block ahead of you. 
  • Always keep an eye out for the unsafe actions of other motorists and pedestrians around you, so that you can safely adjust your driving to avoid a crash.
  • Always communicate your intentions to motorists around you so they know what you’re going to do. This means always using your signal headlights and brake lights, horn and even hand signals if need be.

“My father taught me many years ago to always let people know when they are good to pass you. Same idea was taught to me when I was in transport training. Truck manufacturers built that little switch into the light system to simplify the flashing of clearance lights to signal other drivers of your intentions. Great idea all drivers should be using.” – Guy Broderick, Driver Trainer at APPS Transport.

  • Identify potential hazards in front of you while you have time to take corrective action.
  • Stay alert to shifting driving conditions in front of you to avoid unnecessary stops and starts.
  • Let the actions of drivers ahead of you signal what is taking place, such as when you see brake lights come on can serve as a warning of an impending problem that you may need to avoid.
  • Always keep you eyes looking down the road. Truck drivers have the perfect vantage point as they are sitting high above traffic. You have so many things to look out for. Everything from Cyclists, Pedestrians, Animals (dogs), Buses and Bad Driver in both Trucks and Cars.

“In summer months and in warmer states, drivers need to be very aware of smaller modes of transport. ‎Be very aware of bikes, E bikes, scooters and motorcycles. These can be harder to see and hear (E bikes) than 4-wheeled vehicles. Always keep your eyes moving from left to right and keep checking all mirrors. Remember, if they can’t see your mirrors you cannot see them,” – Guy Broderick, Driver Trainer at APPS Transport.

  • Always maintain a safe following distance to avoid a rear-end collision. Give even more space when the weather conditions require greater stopping distances.
  • Be aware of other transport trucks, utility trucks and smaller vehicles towing trailers.

“Over my 30+ years of driving, I have seen way too many unprofessional drivers tow equipment that shouldn’t be on the road. They let chains, binders, shovels, snow and even trees fall of their trucks or trailers in front of me. Always be prepared for those unprofessional people who you might be sharing the road with on your next drive. Keep a safe distance between yourself and unsafe drivers to avoid potential hazards.” says Guy Broderick.

Guy Broderick - APPS Transport-1

  • Give yourself a cushion of safety in the danger zone around your vehicle, including to the front, the sides and to the back of you.
  • Constantly scan your mirrors at least every five to 10 seconds to see what’s going on around you.
  • Always keep your eyes actively scanning around you so that you’re aware of potential hazards.
  • Before entering an intersection always look to your left, right and left again, even if you have the green light, to avoid anyone who may be going through an intersection unsafely.
  • Avoid traveling in packs with other vehicles. If you see an open space ahead of you, change lanes so that you don’t have vehicle surrounding you in heavy traffic, when possible.
  • When approaching any intersection always make sure you have direct eye contact with anyone crossing the street.

“This situation came to light when I was doing an OTA Road Knight presentation at the Bloorview School. ‎I used a few hats to cover the fender mirrors on my truck. Then we had a group of students all stand directly in the blind spot to the right front corner of the truck. This demonstration was done to show how big trucks are and people can disappear when standing so close. One of the class teachers jumped into the drivers seat and to their astonishment the group of children had disappeared with just the placement of the hat. After the presentation I had parents come to me and tell me they will never let their children stand so close to the curb that they will not have direct eye contact with the truck driver,” – Guy Broderick, Driver Trainer at APPS Transport.

  • Simply put down the distractions: Phone, Tablet, Sandwich, Coffee are all distractions that could cause a collision or a crash. Even when you are talking on a wireless headset you are involved in a conversation and are distracted. Don’t become a statistic. Put it down, It can wait, and keep your eyes on the road.

“This is what I look for when I drive a truck or a car and it is the same as what I teach new drivers coming into our company. I have to admit I do ask any new driver during their training if they were ever shown the tips when they went to a truck driving school and most say they do not,” – Guy Broderick, Driver Trainer at APPS Transport.

Watch Guy using his Driver Training best practices to help APPS Transport fleet remain compliant and safe.