Safety is a major factor for everyone on the road, but it is especially important for truck drivers who live and work on the road. Truck driving ranked #8 on Time magazine’s “10 Most Dangerous Jobs” list in 2014, and in 2012 there were 741 fatalities in the truck driving industry according to Forbes magazine. These numbers can be eye opening. A good truck driver must understand and adopt truck safety in every part of their job. By practicing the following 5 tips, truckers will take a step forward in being safe on the road.
1. Be Attentive
Try as hard as you can to not to be distracted. Your attention must always be focused on the road. This is the most important tip for all drivers everywhere, and yet it can be the hardest to follow. If you notice your attention is slipping, take the step to rid of the distractions – such as music or texts on a phone. Do whatever it takes to keep your attention on the road.
2. Be Smart About Road Conditions
Don’t overestimate your abilities when driving in substandard road conditions. According to an article by Esurance, 25% of speeding-related truck driving accidents are caused by inclement weather. Make sure to slow your roll when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Cut your speed by 1/3 when driving on wet roads, and by ½ when driving on snow and ice.
Road conditions aren’t only dependent on weather. Work Zones can be extremely dangerous as well: large trucks are a part of about 1/3 of all fatal work-zone accidents. Again, watch your speed when you are in the midst of construction.
3. Backing Up
Minor accidents often occur when a driver is backing up or parking. Avoid this from happening by always walking around to the rear of the truck and looking up, down and all around for possible obstructions. Never assume an area is clear. Also, if it’s a complicated back up, you may need to get out of the truck to look several times. You may feel foolish, but it’s worth it if you avoid an accident.
4. Know Your Truck
Your truck holds a lot of cargo and all that added weight creates strain. Make sure that you check your truck to make sure it’s ready for the long-haul (or even the short-haul). Give it a thorough look-over every morning, checking for things such as fluid levels, horns, and brakes. Contact dispatch if you see anything out of the ordinary.
5. Don’t Forget About Yourself
Keeping yourself healthy is extremely important for the life of a trucker. Keep a healthy diet, stick to an exercise plan and (most importantly) get enough sleep! Fatigue is a major concern for truckers because of ever-changing schedules. For tips on keeping yourself healthy and alert, see our article “4 Trucking Tips for New Drivers.”
By adopting these 5 safety tips daily, you can be sure that you’re helping prevent accidents on the road and keeping yourself safe in the process.