All economies are heavily dependent on trucking or shipping industries. Thus, truck drivers and others transporters are literally driving economies. But compared to all other professions, being a truck driver is a tough and challenging one. Drivers are exposed to several risks which include; handling a huge, heavy, and long vehicle, working for extended hours, working on a night shift, and driving even during worst climates or conditions. Seasoned truck drivers are already familiar with all the safety drills. But if you are new to the job, here are 7 tips for safer truck driving:
- Maintain and inspect your truck before you hit the road. Most drivers are allotted with their own truck or vehicle. The first thing you might want to do is be familiar with the truck assigned to you. Maintain and take care of it as if it’s your own vehicle. And before you embark on your next trip, ensure that you have inspected its worthiness from top to bottom. Check the most important aspects like brakes, lights, oil, water, mirrors, etc.
- Watch and try to reduce your blind spots.
According to statistics, majority of truck-related accidents are not caused by the truck itself but by other vehicles that approach the truck’s so-called blind spots. When you’re driving a huge container truck, you don’t have a vision right below your windshield, side mirrors and doors, the top of your truck, and most importantly the back of your trailer. Watch and try to prevent vehicles from entering these spots. Blind spots can also be reduced by adding extra mirrors at different angles.
- Plan your trips and properly load your cargo. Plan your trip by selecting routes that are safe, has less traffic both vehicle and people, and those that are more familiar. Additionally, don’t try overloading your truck just to rush cargo. There’s also a proper way to load and secure cargo to maintain balance especially on tight curves.
- Watch your speed particularly on intersections and curves. The most important factor to road safety is your driving speed. Trucks can be as fast as cars and SUVs but you have to take note of one important difference; you’re driving a huge machine. Remember that there’s always a momentum for trucks when accelerating, braking, and turning because of their weight so ensure you slow down in advance and avoid tailgating.
- Use all the signals you can have. Because of the numerous blind spots you can have while driving your truck, you need to make full and effective use of your signals. Aside from your signaling lights, you and your manager might want to paint or stick warnings signs on your trailer sides or at the back.
- Eliminate distractions in your cabin. Most drivers consider their truck cabin and extension of their home. To make it more comfortable, there are extra pillows and foams, stereo, GPS, mobile phones, and some even bring a TV or laptop on board. But you should not become too much comfortable while driving because it prevents you from focusing. It’s okay to take these items on your journey, but never use them (particularly mobile phones) while your truck is running.
- Never discount the weather factor. Finally, another source of risk when driving is weather or environmental conditions. You should always include checking weather forecasts when planning your trip. And when the weather is too risky or bad, it pays to delay or postpone your trip.