It is not an easy job driving a truck. Many drivers drive trucks as a source of living but it has many dangers involved. A truck driver needs to be vigilant at all times to ensure the safety of others and his own.
When a precarious situation comes in front of the truck driver suddenly, his ability to stay vigilant at all times helps him and others to stay safe.
While rules & safety instructions from the carrier company are meant as general guidelines for truckers, the following ten safety tips for truck driving are also very important:
- Be aware of everything that’s happening around your vehicle.
- Look carefully far down the road and around your board at all times.
- An escape route should be planned well in advance if you are expecting heavy traffic.
- Awareness of other vehicles and objects in the front, behind, and the sides of your truck is the key to stay safe in case something goes wrong.
- You should be well-rested before you drive. Exertion disturbs your focus while driving.
- Managing your resting times properly through an electronic logbook at the carrier company helps regularize your resting and driving schedules.
CHECK WEATHER REPORTS:
Before you begin your driving trip, check the weather in advance and go through all weather reports often during the trip as well.
Outside temperatures may change suddenly which a driver should observe at all times. Once you know in advance what kind of weather conditions you are expecting on the road, it will help you prepare in advance to take appropriate safety precautions.
AVOID TRAFFIC INFESTED ROADS:
Plan trips in advance through roads and highways where you expect the least amount of traffic so that the risk of any accident minimizes on roads which have less traffic.
CHECK DELIVERY SPOTS ON FOOT:
It must have happened to you many times that you entered a parking space for your delivery and you got stuck due to some obstacles that you were not able to see from your driving position. Your shipper might have given you the clearance to park saying that they have trucks parking here all the time. But it may not be so from a driver’s perspective.
Lots of accidents happen while backing your truck. Therefore it is most important to stop your vehicle on the side before you park your truck in the docking area, walk around on foot and carefully survey any hazards such as low-fire hydrants, signs, ditches, etc. A vehicle can get stuck quickly and can not turn around because the docking area is just not ideal for big trucks.
TAKE EXTRA CAUTION IN THE NIGHT:
In the night, lighting conditions may not be as perfect as in the day time. Some common accidents in the night are:
- Driving into the ditch thinking that you are reaching the road while leaving a truck stop.
- Not being able to see a parked truck and slamming right into the back of it.
- Hitting light posts etc.
Look twice, stay attentive, and focus around you.
KEEP SUFFICIENT SPACE IN FRONT OF YOUR RIG:
It might be a little difficult to keep a safe distance in between if other vehicles are traveling at a higher speed then you are, but you have to manage to make this cushion space at all costs. A sudden breaking or an unexpected accident or situation may happen in front of you. In this case, the safe space that you have kept in your front would give you enough time to protect yourself from the front and the back of your rig.
KEEP LANE CHANGES TO A MINIMUM:
Once you enter a lane, avoid changing it again and again. Every time you change a lane, chances of unnecessary accidents increase.
If you feel necessary to change a lane, double-check your rear mirror, side view mirror, shoulder, and blind spots before you carefully change your lane. There is no chance that you will be at fault if you had maintained your lane during an accident.
When approaching a city from the interstate, take the 2nd lane from the right, to avoid merging vehicles as they love to squeeze in from the right. They do not seem to merge. Merging has become so uncommon now.
USE A TRUCKER’S GPS:
Specialized truckers GPS provides directions along with giving signals pre-hand to take the correct exits while mentioning distance before exits as well. It will also update traffic reports and conditions while assisting in changing lanes.
It’s a device that comes in very handy. When a driver enters an unknown area or gets lost, GPS devices keep the truck drivers free of any tension that they can easily find a detour or their destination conveniently.
Although they are quite accurate but technology can also make mistakes and may not be 100 % accurate so do keep your other tools such as a map handy and compare and study your route beforehand.
SLOW YOUR SPEED:
Truck drivers may be the best-skilled drivers when it comes to their rig but they need to understand that they are not driving a fast sports car. These rigs cannot corner like supercars and can’t be handled like one. Please take care on corners and ramps and drive slow. The trucks can rollover due to the lightest mistake if they are going fast. Do not worry about the traffic getting slow behind you. Your safe driving is more important.
When you are inside a parking area, do not go above 2nd gear. Drive fast when it’s a clear highway. Be careful and control your vehicle by slowing down.
CHECK YOUR TRUCK AND TAKE A BREAK WHILE DRIVING:
Stop to take frequent breaks while driving if you feel tired. While take a stretch go around your vehicle and take a look at it. Check your tires if they have not worn out or leaking air. Also, check for any under leakage such as coolant and any kind of oils.
Nothing is more important than the well being and safety of you and other travelers on the road. No matter how experienced you are, how much hurry are you in, do not ignore any of the safety steps. Ignoring one safety step can result in the loss of your life and the others on the road. Therefore practice safety steps and stay professional.