Driving is not for the faint of heart. In today’s world, hitting the highway means that you just might find yourself contending with the press of heavy traffic, snarls caused by road construction, unpredictable bouts of road rage, and distracted motorists who are busy doing everything but driving their vehicle. With the number of hours commercial drivers spend on the road and the extra challenge of operating their massive rigs, it’s no wonder that truck driving came in at number eight on Time’s recent list of America’s most dangerous jobs. As a truck driver, how can you protect yourself? While accidents can happen to even the best of drivers, following a few trucker safety tips will increase the likelihood of a smooth, successful journey.
Trucker Safety Tips
When your office is the open road, your mindset is crucial to avoiding on-the-job accidents. Think about what your task entails and make a conscious decision to strive for safety.
Get Rolling with a Good Education
If you’re new to commercial driving, the best way to launch your career is with a good educational program. Most programs are designed to teach students about the rules of the road and how to operate a truck safely. Both of these topics can be more complicated than they look, so it’s helpful to explore them with an experienced instructor. These programs also provide opportunities for hands-on learning and prepare students to qualify for their commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Operating an 18-wheeler, semi-truck, or other large commercial vehicle safely takes skill, concentration, and stamina. Since losing control of this type of vehicle can have devastating consequences, it is important that you take care of your health. Regular checkups, a healthy lifestyle that includes adequate exercise, a healthy diet, and sufficient sleep, and prompt attention to any health concern will help you stay healthy and physically capable of being a safe, effective driver.
Know When to Go Slow
Even in today’s fast-paced world, there are times when it is important to slow down. When you’re operating a commercial vehicle, controlling your speed is a crucial part of staying safe. When should you reduce your speed? Slow down when you’re going around a curve, driving through a construction zone, battling bad weather, or any time when deteriorating conditions require extra caution.
Maintain Your Space
It’s basic physics. The bigger the vehicle, the harder it is to stop. Since commercial vehicles cannot stop on a dime, maintain a safety zone around your vehicle. Never tailgate and keep an eye on your side mirrors so that you are aware of the vehicles around you. Always give yourself plenty of time and space when preparing to stop or turn, and signal early so other motorists are notified of your intentions. It’s also smart to minimize lane changes. With so many blind spots, lane changes are inherently risky, so limiting them reduces the chances of an accident.
Whether you’re reading a list of trucker safety tips or perusing an article advising those piloting passenger cars, it’s a safe bet that distracted driving will be mentioned. Cell phones get a lot of the blame thanks to concerns about talking and texting while driving, but virtually anything can be a distraction. Eating, changing the radio station, talking with a passenger, attending to a child, or even daydreaming can distract a driver. Unfortunately, that lack of attention can have deadly consequences. When you’re driving a truck, focus is vital, so make every effort to dodge distractions.
American culture tends to lionize hard work; many people act as though sacrificing sleep to continue doing your job is noble. It’s not. Driving while drowsy can be as dangerous as driving drunk, so anyone who operates a commercial vehicle needs to prioritize rest. Before starting a shift, get a good night’s sleep so that you are rested, alert, and ready to focus when you’re behind the wheel. While driving, take regular breaks and adhere to commercial driver hour restrictions. If your eyes get too tired, don’t tough it out. Pull over and find a safe spot to grab a nap. Driving while exhausted isn’t professional. It’s a mistake that can put your career and your life in jeopardy.
Operating a commercial vehicle is an important job and a major responsibility. Wherever your work takes you, following trucker safety tips is a smart way to stay safe on the job.
Are you interested in becoming a truck driver? You can learn everything you need to know at the Truck Dynasty Driving Academy, a professional truck driver training program that involves 120 clock hours and 3 weeks of professional driver training. In addition, current drivers can use the refresher course to sharpen and develop their skills. To get started, please give us a call at 417-831-8188, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!