Because Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers often travel to new cities and towns, they may be unfamiliar with the roadway and feel compelled to read a map or directions while driving. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) reported that 22 percent of large-truck crashes occurred when CMV drivers were unfamiliar with the roadway.Below are some tips that will help you maintain your route and prevent a crash while driving on unfamiliar roads.

Tip #1: Review Maps and Plan Your Route Before Driving

Be sure to plan your driving route before getting behind the wheel so you can keep your schedule and prevent distractions that may occur while trying to read a map or directions. You may use electronic devices, such as a navigation system, to aid you when you are unfamiliar with the roadway. However, remember to use technology appropriately (pull safely to the side of the roadway or stop and take a break), otherwise it can be a source of distraction.

When transporting hazardous materials, remember that most states and localities have route restrictions and/or designated routes. You must carry a written copy of your route plan, and you must follow that plan if you are carrying Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 explosives.

Tip #2: Do Not Suddenly Change Your Direction of Travel

If you miss a turn or an exit, pass the turn and find a safe way to change direction. Do not take shortcuts. Trying to suddenly correct a missed turn or exit may result in you performing an illegal or unsafe maneuver which may threaten your safety and the safety of the vehicles around you.

Tip #3: Signal Your Turns

Use turn signals first to indicate your intent to change lanes, next visually scan for adjacent traffic and road hazards, and then execute a safe lane change. By signaling your intentions well in advance, you will be in a safer position to communicate with the surrounding drivers and you will be able to safely execute the desired driving maneuver.

Source: DOT/FMCSA CMV Driving Tips: Unfamiliar Roadway