When it comes to the truck driving industry, driver safety is extremely important. A lot of injuries and accidents happen because of ignoring certain imperative safety rules. There are a few simple yet crucial safety tips every commercial truck driver should keep in mind to ward off injuries and accidents. The following eight tips will help to make the road much safer for commercial truck drivers as well as other drivers regardless of the vehicle they have.
1. Slow down
Perhaps, slowing down is the most crucial safety tip that all commercial truck drivers must remember. Depending on where you drive, many countries have literally perfect roads where you can increase the speed of your vehicle. Truck drivers tend to have strict deadlines and oftentimes they hurry to deliver the cargo on time. While deadlines are important, your life and the lives of other drivers on the road are more important. Unlike cars, big trucks are harder to handle and they can’t corner like a Ferrari, for example.
When you see the speed signs on the roads, remember that they’re designed for cars, not for big trucks, so slow down and drive with control and care. This is particularly important to do before the ramps and corners. Whether or not you hold up traffic, consider getting around the corner and being upright. Even on a clear day and almost empty roads, it’s still vital to drive slowly and keep control. Be extra careful during the nighttime, too. Move slowly and stay alert. Avoid driving at a higher speed when you’re sleepy.
2. Avoid changing lanes too often
Choose a lane and try staying in it. Of course, cars will change lanes and dodge frequently, but you’re not driving a car. Unless you find it imperative to change a lane, don’t do it. If you need to change a lane, stay alert of the blind spots and always check the truck’s mirrors.
Every time a truck changes a lane, the risk of an accident dramatically increases. In the case of an accident, you won’t be at fault if you keep your lane position. If you enter a city/town from the freeway, avoid merging cars by taking the second lane from the right. Car drivers like to dodge all over the right lane and they usually don’t merge, as it’s considered as a lost art.
3. Be aware of traffic
Luckily, there are multiple traffic reports available online these days. You can even download a specific app for staying aware of traffic. This will help you avoid driving at peak traffic and high volume traffic times, which increase the risk of an accident.
4. Be aware of weather reports
Check out weather reports before you start driving and ensure you pay attention to weather conditions while driving. Bad weather can also increase your risk of getting injured in a truck accident. Constantly check the outside temperature and stay aware of any road condition changes. If you drive in winter, you should be particularly careful. If you drive in summer and see that it’s going to rain or a storm is coming, it’s better to find a safe place where you can wait until the weather gets better.
5. Be well rested and alert
It should go without saying but make sure you don’t drink alcohol and take any drugs while you’re driving. Drugs are anything that can negatively affect your physical or judgment faculties, including medications, which trigger drowsiness. For example, be careful with medications that treat cold and flu.
Before you head to the desired destination, ensure you get enough sleep. If you drive long distances, look for places where you can get sleep in advance. Schedule your sleep, meals, and stops, if you want. You need to feel healthy, energized, and alert to notice everything happening around you on the road. When you’re sleep-deprived and exhausted, you increase the likelihood of accidents. Unfortunately, accidents do occur and if they do you might need a commercial truck accident lawyer to help you in this situation.
6. Avoid distractions
Smartphones are everywhere and they have already caused millions of deaths worldwide. Even if you’re not going to risk your life for a cool selfie, texting, calling, or checking your social media when driving is dangerous. If you want or need to do it, stop your truck and send that text. Using your smartphone while driving is also illegal in most cities worldwide.
Music is often an underrated distraction that can also cause issues on the road. If music distracts you, either change the songs or switch it off. For instance, if a certain song makes you feel depressed, it can negatively affect the way you drive. If you drive with someone, make sure your conversation doesn’t distract you, as well.
7. Park safely
When you drive new roads, you might not be aware of all the troubles of parking in certain places around the city or your final destination. When delivering to a new destination, check out the parking area on foot. Trucks get easily trapped when parking and sometimes unable to turn around, resulting in an accident when backing up. Get out of your truck and look around your truck to figure out any obstacles, which may appear on your way, including ditches, low fire hydrants, and posts, among the others.
8. Use GPS
Experienced truck driver doesn’t use GPS as they think they know all the roads and their obstacles and problems. However, modern GPS doesn’t just show the direction; it also shows you traffic reports and lets you know when to change lanes or which exit to take. It’s helpful and can save you time, nerves, and money that you can spend on gas if you drive a wrong road. Sometimes GPS shows incorrect information, so check it twice before travelling in unknown areas.
By following these eight crucial tips every commercial truck driver should remember, you’ll be able to avoid a lot of hazards the road can prepare for you. Lastly, when driving long-distances, check your truck and cargo to ensure everything is okay. Don’t forget, safety comes first.
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