TTSAO Training Tip – Fundamentals

While teaching your student/driver, you’ll need to show them how to correctly use brake lights and turn signals: the two of the most common methods of communicating what we are doing with our vehicles.

The most direct way to instill the practice of proper communication, which we will call the “C” word, is to inform your student/driver when they incorrectly communicate!

Large commercial vehicles, or vehicles with heavy loads, need to be recognized by other road users when slowing down or making turns. In the case of making a turn, we are actually doing both.

Brand new drivers need to be told when to apply the turn signal when they are making their first few turns. The best guidance you can offer is to tell them to activate the turn signal just as they apply the brakes.

This gives the best results: showing motorists why the brakes are being applied and that the truck is making a turn.

For any experienced driver, this can also be done when working on any corrective action. The ‘best case’ scenario is always to train your drivers to do all of the basics correctly.

If your student/driver applies the turn signals before activating the brakes, this communicates as a lane change maneuver rather than a turn. In this case, a following motorist may not brake when they only see a turn signal. This may result in higher risks of being hit from behind, and no insurer wants to see that happen.

For a simple lane change, using the turn indicators will be enough communication to tell other road users the intent for movement.

Normally there will be no need to use any braking, unless in traffic. On the highway, use of brake lights coupled with a turn signal for a lane change will confuse following drivers. Keep it simple, keep it basic is a value to driving commercially.

Our new catchphrase, “training, training, training,” borrows heavily from the real estate: “location, location, location.”

Calling all Instructors and TTSAO Acreddited Schools

We invite you to submit your training tips to share in next week’s Training Tip of the Week. Your participation and offerings will truly benefit all our students, and we greatly appreciate your support. Thank you!


Membership in the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario can be of great benefit to you, whether you provide commercial driver training, employ drivers, or are in some other segment of the transportation industry. Join our association today to become part of this team of professionals whose goal is to improve and unify truck driver training standards, resulting in highly skilled, better prepared, entry-level and re-certified commercial drivers.

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