Truck drivers undergo a lot of training so that they can drive a 40-ton vehicle on the road safely. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on the safety tips that all truckers need to know.
According to data from 2017, as many as 4,102 people died in truck crashes in the U.S, with 17% of the victims the truck occupants themselves and the remaining 68% being the people in other vehicles involved. Needless to say, truck safety is not something to be taken lightly.
As a truck driver, you are responsible for the safety of yourself, your load, and the people around you. To maintain maximum safety while on the road, here are the things you should take to heart:
1. Use proper equipment
Trucking companies should never forgo the use of proper equipment on all of their trucks. Things such as saddle boxes for trucks, step boxes, and fenders need to be of sufficient quality, so they don’t break or malfunction on the road. Cheap equipment may do the job temporarily, but it’s not a good reason to risk the safety of the drivers and other people on the road.
2. Wear your seatbelt at all times
It seems like a no-brainer, right? However, one in six truck drivers doesn’t wear their seatbelt on the road. Driving for multiple hours each day may be uncomfortable with a seatbelt on, but it may be the only thing that can stand between you and certain death in case of an accident. Even if you have been driving for years now without incident, don’t ignore the importance of having a seatbelt on.
3. Avoid speeding
A truck is a huge monster of a vehicle, and when you have to brake suddenly or turn, its mass will make it harder for the whole rig to stay upright. To avoid causing an accident, stay within the truck speed limit at all times. Risking your life or the safety of others is not worth making a delivery on time if you have to speed.
4. Get plenty of rest
Trucking is a physically taxing job. You drive for hours on the road, sometimes even with limited sleep. This tiredness, especially when combined with a lack of stimulation, can cause truck drivers to fall asleep on the wheel. To avoid this, get plenty of rest before driving on the road and avoid eating heavy meals. If you feel sleepy, take a nap if on the roadside if you have to, or drink coffee to perk you up.
5. Maintain enough stopping distance
On the road, you can’t expect what other drivers will do all the time. So, if you’re driving behind another vehicle, be sure to maintain proper stopping distance. This way, you can avoid rear-ending them when they stop suddenly.
6. Know how to turn correctly
Since trucks require a very wide turning radius, always be aware of your surroundings whenever you need to make a turn. The technique can be polished through training, so for new truck drivers, make sure you know how to turn safely before getting on a truck.
Trucks cause more devastating damage than a regular vehicle during accidents. That said, truck drivers should always practice these measures to stay safe on the road.