As anyone in the industry knows, truck driving is a hazardous job. In fact, there are more fatal injuries in truck driving than in any other type of occupation. For that reason, safety should be the foremost concern of every professional truck driver in the country.
Here are a few tips to ensure increased safety on the roads:
- Pre-trip inspection – You can minimize mechanical breakdowns and possible accidents through pre-trip inspections. The inspection can help you avoid committing Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration violations. Pre-trip inspections can also help you save money and precious time. Before embarking on a trip, ensure that your trucks’ lights are working properly. Check for air leaks, water leaks, tire wear, air hose chafing, and loose springs and bolts.
- Regular Truck Maintenance – Truckers should be committed to keeping their trucks in good driving condition through consistent maintenance. In addition to pre-trip inspections, you should make sure that your truck is inspected thoroughly through quarterly inspections. As they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
- Weather Watch – Drivers must regularly deal with hazardous road conditions. Checking the weather reports will enable you to map your routes in order to avoid weather extremes. Take time to remove the ice and snow build up from your truck to improve visibility. Have an emergency kit ready for any eventuality. Cut your speed by a third when driving on wet roads and by half when driving in icy or snowy conditions.
- Frequent Breaks – Federal regulations require truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift. Truck drivers are allowed only a maximum of 11 hours of driving for a 14-hour workday. You should stop to sleep or stretch your legs whenever possible. It is not safe to be driving while sleepy. Doing so will endanger not only your life and safety but also others on the road.
- Stay Alert – Driving long haul can be boring and tiresome. Take care of yourself by eating healthy, taking power naps, and resting when you are tired. Drink enough water, as dehydration can contribute to fatigue.
- Work Zone Caution – Make sure to leave enough room in front of you while driving. Slow down when negotiating curves and passing through work zones.
While truck driving can be hazardous, there are a number of things you can do to minimize dangers. Taking care of yourself, staying healthy and alert, and observing traffic regulations can help you stay safe and well on the road.