Earlier this summer, Volvo Trucks and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) partnered with FedEx, using three Volvo trucks to demonstrate an autonomous technology that allows trucks travelling together to communicate with one another and drive as one, reducing drag, increasing fuel efficiency, and helping to improve roadway safety.
"We’re always in pursuit of new technologies that allow our trucks to operate as safely as possible on roadways, and the VNR and VNL series epitomize this dedication,” said Magnus Koeck, vice president of marketing and brand management for Volvo Trucks North America. “With Labor Day fast approaching, marking one of the busiest travel times of the year, we want to encourage greater roadway safety through both our state-of-the-art safety features and education to the public on how to operate around large Class 8 vehicles.”
Some safety tips that drivers should keep in mind any time they are on the road include:
- Be aware of the vehicle in front of you and give them plenty of space.
- Slow down and don't exceed the speed of surrounding traffic.
- Do not cut in front of large trucks! Big trucks take much longer to stop than smaller automobiles. Fully-loaded tractor trailers can take more than 100 yards to make a complete stop. Give them enough space so they can brake to a complete stop.
- Buckle your safety belt; this important safety device won't prevent a crash but it can save a life.
- Keep your eyes on the road! Avoid distracted driving; put your cell phone away while operating your vehicle.
- Prepare yourself and your vehicle for long-distance travel. Before you hit the road, ensure vehicle maintenance is up-to-date and that you are well-rested, fed and hydrated. Also make sure you have a few safety supplies in the car: water, snack, blanket, and flashlight may come in handy if you experience a breakdown along the way.
- Avoid impaired drivers. Report any intoxicated drivers by calling 911, and pull over to the side of the road to avoid a dangerous driving situation.
- Take note of the blind spots of large trucks: if you can't see the driver, the driver can't see you. For your safety, pass trucks only on their left side; this gives the driver the greatest chance to see you.
- Be flexible. If weather conditions are dangerous or the forecast doesn't look good, try shifting your plans to drive another day if possible.
Some of the top safety features Volvo offers for professional truck drivers include:
- Volvo Active Driver Assist: This integrated camera- and radar-based system combines forward collision mitigation warnings and active braking, even with stationary vehicles.
- Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST): This system provides core antilock braking, Bendix® Smart ATC, and an enhanced stability system that helps drivers reduce risk of rollover, jackknife, and loss of control situations.
- Lane Departure Warning: This safety system uses a windshield-mounted camera to track road markings. If the truck begins to drift, audio and visual alerts warn the driver to move back to the center of the lane.
- LED Lighting: Both interior and exterior LED lighting provide clearer sight lines, improve overall visibility, and help reduce driver fatigue.
- I-Shift automated manual transmission: Companies that use Volvo I-Shift transmissions reduce the risk of accidents by 22 percent. The new version of the I-Shift is even smoother, dampening vibrations, quieting the cab and reducing stress on the driver.
- Passive Protection Technologies: include driver-side airbags; raised foot pedals; impact-absorbing steering wheel/column, dashboard and panels; three-point safety belt; flared frame rails; high-strength-steel cab; and a one-piece, roped in windshield that provides a fast emergency exit if needed.
Safety is the cornerstone on which Volvo founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larsson built the company, establishing safety as a core value in 1927.
Gabrielsson and Larsson are famously quoted as stating, "A vehicle is made by and for people. Thus, the basic principle of all manufacturing is and must remain safety."