Key Development Considerations
Several factors came into play in TruckerScape, Inc.’s “Tips for 4-Wheelers” idea:
We noted the increasing attention to trucking safety as evidenced by new and pending industry regulations and to general public safety in radio and billboard reminders sponsored by highway patrol, state transportation department and other public safety organizations. More recently we learned of efforts by state government organizations to reach out to schools with presentations and demonstration trucks. We knew we could draw on our driver’s experience and wisdom to provide personal vehicle drivers (“4-wheelers”) with even more detail on driving safely around trucks. And we felt this could be another way to help truck drivers in addition to providing dock site and directions knowledge.
We also took into account the exploding use of mobile phones, driven at first by younger generations but now embraced by young and old. It was evident that a mobile website could be an effective medium to reach everyone, especially young drivers. It’s a given that today’s young drivers rely on their mobile phones. With the least experience, they may benefit most from our safe driving tips if we can help accelerate their understanding and accumulation of truck knowledge (so long as they don’t use their phones while driving, of course). We realize that we have provided a considerable amount of content, but by providing it in a simple, friendly, conversational manner, we hope its appeal draws repeated visits with better retention.
Our “Friendly Truck Driver” has driven over the road for several companies and logged well over two million miles. He has driven a number of truck makes and models, both used and new. Over the years he, like other commercial truckers, has experienced a wide variety of driving conditions and traffic behavior. He had a long earlier career in IT (information technology). He is the primary source of the overall concept, specifications and content of the Docktion® Local Directions for Truckers by Truckers website and the Tips for 4-Wheelers sub-site. Based on a prototype, the final logical and physical design and programming in WordPress was performed by EduCyber, Inc. of Wheatridge, Colorado. EduCyber, Inc.’s creativity and expertise were crucial in our efforts to make the sites powerful, appealing and engaging.
Providing a dock site and directions website to help truck drivers was TruckerScape, Inc,’s original focus and will continue to be a vital operations support service for the trucking industry. But it has become more and more evident that a safe driving sub-site has the potential to be equally valuable to truck drivers as well as the general public. We believe the Tips for 4-Wheelers sub-site is a natural complement to the Docktion® Local Directions for Truckers by Truckers website.
Relevance to Autonomous Personal Vehicles and Trucks
A few remarks about future usefulness of the Local Directions for Truckers by Truckers and Tips for 4-Wheelers services are in order. It seems inevitable that autonomous (self-driving) vehicles will be in widespread use in the not so distant future. Personal vehicles and trucks are already being tested in various traffic and road conditions with minimal intervention by ride-along human drivers. In fact, some automated features are already in production. Sensors, controls and artificial intelligence promise driving capabilities superior to those of humans in many respects.
However, trucks in particular are dependent on accurate, clear and complete local directions to docks and other final destinations, whether driven autonomously or (more likely) by truck drivers. GPS directions are not always accurate enough and by themselves do not take into account special maneuvering or other operational requirements at a pickup or delivery site. Artificial intelligence may not be able to handle all such details for some time well into the future. Local Directions for Truckers by Truckers should still be useful in the meantime.
Also, autonomous trucks and personal vehicles will still be required to follow the laws and other “rules of the road” and adjust for various road and weather conditions. It will be up to us to know safe driving practices, observe and judge their performances, and override their systems if necessary. Most of the advice in Tips for 4-Wheelers should hold true and be followed by autonomous vehicles as well as humans.
How to Use Tips for 4-Wheelers
Tips for 4-Wheelers is a mobile direct access reference resource, not a narrative that must be read from start to finish. Tips are organized by chapters, with each chapter highlighting different truck characteristics and types of situations involving our driver’s truck and personal vehicles and other trucks. Brief introductions to each chapter provide background and perspective for the tips that follow. Tips are presented in an informal, conversational manner and mainly in the present tense, as if a reader were riding along with our driver in his cab.
To make each tip more self-contained and self-explanatory, some content is often inserted from one or more related tips. This is meant to help readers comprehend each tip with minimal exposure to the rest of the website. For example, significant amounts of content are duplicated in converse tips such as those in the Passing Me and Passing You chapters. Also for readers’ convenience, tips contain references to other relevant tips that provide additional explanation and/or detail. Finally, at the end of each tip is a “takeaway” section highlighting key points.
In addition to tips by chapter, readers can display a listing of all tips with their first two text lines. From this list readers can request the full text of any tip. Also available is a function that identifies all tips containing a search word that readers input.
Readers may explore tips in any order. One suggestion for novice drivers is to begin with tips in the Personal Habits and Truck Handling Characteristics and Limitations chapters.
Tips for 4-Wheelers promotes increased public attention to driving safety.
Tips on safe driving around big trucks are based on years of experience and wisdom of an actual truck driver.
Tips for 4-Wheelers can be used as a mobile reference resource for experienced as well as novice drivers.
Both Local Directions for Truckers by Truckers and Tips for 4-Wheelers should still be relevant and useful as we progress to autonomous (self-driving) vehicles.
We should know safe driving practices in order to effectively monitor and control autonomous vehicles.