Top Safety Tips For Truck Drivers On The Road
Every seasoned trucker has at least a few stories to tell about the wild situations they encountered on the road. Many of those situations have a certain degree of danger to them, requiring quick and flexible thinking to get out scot-free. But a lot of dangerous situations are entirely avoidable if you follow some basic rules on the road.
Road safety depends significantly on how many precautions you are willing to take to protect your rig. It is also affected by the truckers’ mindset, like defensive driving. You can also cultivate certain habits to increase your safety measures.
Seasoned truckers will eventually learn road safety tips through trial and error, but that is not the only way. This article will discuss various helpful safety tips so that fledgling truckers can have an easier time on the road.
Top 7 Safety Tips For Truck Drivers
There are many things you can do to make your journey safer. There are skills you can actively train and skills that you’ll naturally acquire through experience.
But both of those take time to accumulate, so here are some simple tips that you can employ right now to increase your safety:
1. Be Perceptive
The most useful skill any trucker can train is perception. Being wise and aware of their surroundings can profoundly enhance their safety and help them avoid unnecessary hassle. On a base level, awareness refers to the surrounding environment and road.
You need to know the things happening around you and your rig. Pay attention to who or what’s in front and back of your rig, and pay attention to the folks beside your rig. Take precautions if you think some of those drivers might cause complications.
2. Check The Weather
Beyond the base level awareness, you can also learn about meteorological phenomena, AKA the weather. Heavy rigs have very different performances in different weather settings. So, knowing what the weather is going to be will help you decide on your game plan or adjust your on-road strategy.
Weather forecasts are never 100% accurate, but modern tech does a decent job of such prediction with acceptable accuracy. So learn to plan around bad weather, but don’t become too reliant on the forecast.
3. Check Your Speed
Big rigs handle differently and require a lot of precise control. You cannot achieve that if your speed is too high. That’s why it is crucial to maintain a low speed that allows easy maneuvering.
Limiting the speed is actually beneficial from an economic perspective too. Going too fast will increase the risk of a mishap and significantly increase your fuel consumption. So arriving at your destination a few hours early can actually cost you more money.
Even on highways, maintain a comfortable speed. Going as fast as you can is always a hazardous choice, especially considering how much inertia you’ll have to deal with to stop the vehicle safely.
4. Lane Changing, Blind Spots
Changing lanes is quite tricky for a big rig compared to smaller vehicles. It comes with a multitude of risks because trucks have so many blind spots. So as a trucker, you must constantly pay attention to the blind spots while changing lanes.
The easiest way to reduce the risk of accidents in the aforementioned situation is not to change lanes too often. Pick a lane, and stay there. The less you need to change lanes, the safer your journey will be. Staying in your proper lane also gives you a legal edge if an accident does happen.
In such cases, the other party will most likely be at fault as long as you don’t fall for the insurance investigator’s trap.
Keep in mind that trucks need a lot of space to stop without hurting anyone. The approximate distance you need can also change depending on your load because weight adds to inertia. That’s why you should never stay too close to the vehicle in front of you. Determine how much distance you need to stop, and keep that distance throughout the journey.
Your truck is obviously going to be slower than most of the vehicles on the road. So expect to get overtaken. Some drivers will respect the large truck and leave your front enough space before overtaking, but that only happens rarely.
As a trucker, you must never rely on the driving skills of others. Always expect the least from other drivers and be prepared for any mishaps. The best thing to do is to keep enough distance and low enough speed to compensate for any unforeseen scenarios.
6. Physically Go To The Drop Off Location
Trucks are big vehicles and need a lot of wiggle room for turning and maneuvering. While you, as a trucker, understand this basic concept, most of your clients will not. Some clients will tell you over the phone that they have enough space in the drop-off location and that it’ll be “fine,” only for you to go there and see it’s a tiny cul-de-sac.
Most accidents involving big trucks happen when backing up. So you need to try your best to avoid situations where you need to back up a long distance. That’s why checking the drop-off location in person is always better. While you’re still in a decent spot, leave your truck for a few minutes, and walk to the location on foot.
Check the area and gauge the overall situation. Only move your truck in if you know you can get out of there safely.
7. Get Enough Rest
You should be aware of your limitations as a human being. You need adequate rest to be at the top of your game. Do not push yourself, and learn when to call it a day. Getting enough rest can increase your road safety quite significantly.
A lot of accidents happen because truckers push themselves beyond their capacity and don’t get enough sleep. It puts them in immediate danger. Even if you can get away with doing that, such activities will leave latent problems in your body and negatively affect your health.
We hope you found this information helpful. Our goal is to help truckers quickly adapt to dangers on the road and improve their quality of life. We also have contact with many trucking companies, so feel free to contact us if you need a new assignment.