12 Simple Safety Tips For Truck Drivers
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When it comes to road safety, it’s imperative for every truck driver to learn the basic rules of the road. In the United States, Truck transport is one of the main ways goods and products can reach their destination safely.
Since truck driving is a source of income for many Americans, getting to these destinations safely is crucial to their livelihood.
According to Policy Advice, there were 4,102 deaths in truck wrecks in 2017, showing a 52% increase since 2009.
With the surplus of careless drivers on the road, a healthy dose of safety tips will help to save your life both on and off the road.
Pre-Trip & Post-Trip Safety Inspections
Before and after your trip, make sure to perform a thorough vehicle inspection to ensure that your truck is safe to drive. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study discovered that mechanical defects, new tour routes, and fatigue are the most common causes of truck crashes. Additionally, issues with tires, wheels, and brakes seem to be the most common cause of accidents.
Be sure to inspect the truck’s headlights, turn signals, and the brakes. Take a reading of the truck’s tire pressure and verify that it maintains the recommended maximum. Document your findings and report any defects.
Also, be sure to check under the vehicle to confirm that there are no loose objects or liquid leaks. The truck load should be properly balanced and firmly placed in the correct area of the truck.
Here are two winter driving pre-trip inspection checklists that will help you stay safe! One checklist is for medium duty trucks and the other checklist is for heavy duty trucks.
Medium Duty Truck Checklist – Click here.
Heavy Duty Truck Checklist – Click here.
Bring an Emergency Kit
In case you find yourself in an emergency, it might be helpful to have an emergency kit with you. Fill the kit with trucking essentials like a road flare, a flashlight with a pair of fresh batteries, jumper cables, drinking water, and a phone charger.
Get Enough Rest
Every night, be sure to get an adequate amount of sleep. It is never wise to drive while your body is naturally drowsy. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states that driver drowsiness may impair a driver’s response time to potential hazards, increasing the chances of being in a crash. Furthermore, if you feel drowsy while driving, please choose a safe place, pull over, and rest.
Keep a Healthy Diet
Irregular eating or skipping meals may lead to fatigue and loss of sleep. When you are not well-rested, induced fatigue may cause slow reaction time, reduced attention, mood changes, reduced judgment ability, and lack of awareness. So, please make sure to eat well and take care of yourself.
Weather & Road Conditions
Be sure to check the weather reports and the changing road conditions before heading out.
Knowing what to expect on the road will help you take the necessary precautions and prepare you for driving in bad weather conditions.
Make Sure You’re Comfortable
At times, driving long-distances can be a daunting experience especially if you feel uncomfortable in your vehicle.
Make sure to bring comfy cushions, adjust the steering wheel, adjust the seat height and the back rest so that you can be comfortable during the long drive.
Also, please remember to take the necessary breaks every few hours so that you can get out of the truck and walk around.
Watch Out for Work Zones & School Zones
Reports state that roughly one-third of all fatal work-zone accidents involve large trucks. Please be mindful to slow down, maintain extra following space, and be prepared to stop. Be sure to obey all work and school zone signs and signals. Scan ahead for changing traffic patterns, be aware of vehicles entering your blind spots, and keep an eye out for road workers and flag crews.
Driving defensively encourages truck drivers to consistently be on the lookout for potential hazards and changes in driving and road conditions. A potential hazard may include watching out for blind spots. A blind spot is any area around the vehicle that cannot be seen by the driver.
Since the rear-view and side mirrors are not always effective for checking blind spots, drivers are encouraged to look over their shoulders and out the windows when changing lanes. It is also advised to leave plenty of room around the truck when merging. Other forms of driving defensively can include practicing the three-second rule, being prepared for emergencies, staying calm, always signaling, and slowing down.
Use Your Safety Belt
Every time you enter a vehicle, remember to always use a safety (seat) belt. Recent studies have shown that in 2014, 30% of truck drivers that were involved in fatal crashes were partially or completely ejected from their vehicles.
Safety belts help to save lives, they reduce injuries, and they help drivers stay inside and in control of their vehicles during a crash.
Slow Down for Curves
For large trucks, the posted speed limit may actually be too fast, especially on the exit and the entrance ramps. Failing to slow down for curves and ramps or driving too fast puts you at risk for truck spills, truck rollovers, and crashes.
When approaching curves, slow down to at least 5-10 mph below the posted speed limit to avoid spilling or rolling over. Remember to keep a safe distance of seven to eight seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. During bad weather, increase the seconds to 14 seconds.
Stay Away from Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can occur inside and outside of your truck. Distractions inside the truck can include talking on your phone, sending a text, using dispatching devices, eating, drinking, reading, or adjusting the radio. Distractions outside of the truck can include looking at a passing object.
If something is drawing your attention away and taking your focus from the road, it’s definitely a distraction. A study found that 71% of large truck crashes occurred when the truck driver was doing something besides driving the truck.
Watch Out For Tailgaters
It takes a truck driver approximately a football field length to come to a complete stop, so please be sure to exercise caution when driving. Try to stay clear of aggressive drivers and tailgaters. If tailgaters are getting too close to your vehicle and are depriving you of the space you need to make a sudden stop; remain calm, use your turn signal, switch to a different lane, and let the tailgater overtake you. Remember to drive defensively and watch out for other vehicles and hazards on the road.
Ask For Help
Whether you are a new truck driver, a seasoned truck driver, or potential truck driver, it is never too late to ask for help when you are unsure about the driving or safety process. Here at Empire Workforce Solutions, we have a team of highly qualified staff members waiting to share their wisdom with you. Contact us today!
If you’re a new applicant and would like to find out how you can apply to one of our driving positions, please click here. On our website, you will find over 100 driving job openings in the Pennsylvania, Maine, New Jersey, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, South Dakota, Montana, Florida, and California areas; with more locations coming weekly.
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