Truck driving comes with a responsibility to keep yourself, your cargo, and other drivers safe
These days, truck driving is one of the most important job positions for the world economy. After all, it ensures the timely distribution of essential goods and products worldwide. Nevertheless, even though it’s one of the most crucial jobs in the world, it is also one of the most dangerous jobs at the same time. As a matter of fact, nearly 500,000 trucking accidents occur each year in the U.S., with about 5,000 per year resulting in death. As you can tell, truck driving comes with an enormous responsibility to keep yourself safe, your cargo, and all others on the road.
For that reason, driver safety is one of the hottest topics in the truck driving industry. However, many undesired accidents and horrible injuries can be prevented by following specific safety procedures. To help make the roads safer, we’ll go through the four essential safety tips for truck drivers.
Perform Regular Vehicle Maintenance
Before you hit the road, always make sure that you complete your pre-trip inspection of the vehicle. The brakes and tires are crucial, given how much weight is riding on them at any second of your journey. If you notice some abnormalities, immediately report them to your mechanic or company dispatch and ensure that everything is fixed and double-checked before setting your foot on the gas pedal. If you fail to perform regular truck maintenance, you are effectively compromising your safety and the safety of other drivers and passengers on the road.
Besides tires and brakes, make sure to check all truck lights on your vehicle as they must be installed and functioning correctly at all times. For instance, brake lights must work when the brake pedal is pressed, or signal and hazard markers must blink when triggered. You can also have “chicken lights” placed on your truck, but they must be amber facing forward and red facing back. Finally, suppose you want to make yourself even more visible during foggy nights and challenging weather. In that case, you can place a NightSpire remote control spotlight for trucks on your cabin and have an extra 360-degrees light on that you can command through a controller. Remember, it’s the driver’s responsibility that all truck lights are functioning correctly and that the truck is visible on the road.
Practice Defensive Driving
Practicing defensive driving means that you’re constantly aware and vigilant for unexpected or changing road conditions. For instance, you need to take special care of motorists who don’t understand trucks and how they work. Always leave enough space ahead of you, about twice the distance that the average motorist keeps.
Also, make sure to keep a safe braking distance, which notably is the time it takes for the vehicle to reach a stop once the brake has been pressed. For example, with the average braking distance for a commercial truck at around four seconds, if you’re driving 55 mph, you’re having approximately 400 feet until you come to a complete stop.
Always Use The Three-Second Rule
When it comes to road safety and avoiding rear and forward collisions, you should always use the so-called three-second rule as a truck driver. This driving rule states that truck drives should allow at least three full seconds to pass between the time the vehicle reaches a specific spot on the road and the time it takes the truck driver to get to that exact spot. Nevertheless, if heavy rain or winds are present while you’re driving, you should increase the following time to at least six seconds. Moreover, if the road is icy, increase the follow time to ten seconds at least.
Check Your Delivery Spots
Last but not least, here’s a tip that a veteran truck driver would recommend to you. Always check your delivery spots on foot if possible. In fact, a truck can quickly get stuck or be unable to turn around into a tight delivery spot, even if the shipper assures you that they receive trucks at all times.
To avoid this unpleasant occurrence, which can certainly pose a risk to your safety, when delivering to a new client, find a place to leave your truck, leave the rig secured, and check out the delivery spot on foot. A considerable fraction of all trucking accidents take place when backing up, so always check the delivery spot upfront and avoid risky situations if possible.
Perform regular vehicle maintenance so that your truck is in top shape every time you hit the road, and while on duty, make sure to practice defensive driving, use the three-second rule, and check your delivery spots upfront. Remember, no matter how hot your cargo is, it’s always important to arrive safely.