Truck driving can be stressful. You may feel pressed for time as you drive, and the long days on the road contribute to your general exhaustion. And because you’re maneuvering a rig weighing up to 80,000 pounds, truck driving takes careful attention, skill, and patience
As a truck driver, you have a responsibility to keep yourself and others on the road safe. It’s important to do what you can to keep your truck in great condition and practice safe driving. For tips on how to maintain maximum safety while trucking, keep reading.
1. Maintain Your Rig
Each morning, inspect your truck. Ensure the mirrors are in the proper position and that the horn is working. You’ll also want to check on the fluids, and you’ll want to pay special attention to your brakes. As mentioned before, your truck weighs quite a few tons, and if your brakes fail, the results can be catastrophic.
When you notice something is off, contact dispatch to let them know. Don’t get back on the road without inspecting your rig; careful maintenance can help minimize your risks as you drive.
2. Stay Alert
While driving, look out for any hazards or problems. Keeping a careful watch on the road can give you ample time to avoid problems. Watch for stopped traffic, road damage, and objects in the road. You’ll want to be especially careful during the night and drive slowly, as the darkness can hinder your vision.
3. Take Care in Inclement Weather
Before you get driving, take a look at the forecast for the day so you can prepare yourself for any poor weather. If you do hit a little rain, hail, or snow, then slow down. No matter what kind of hurry you’re in, it’s important not to underestimate foul weather and slick roads. Be careful, and if you’re having trouble, pull over.
4. Keep an Eye on Your Blind Spots
When changing lanes or turning, use extra caution. While many drivers know not to drive too close to a semi-truck, others may not be as careful. Regularly look at your mirrors, and do your best to check the following areas:
- The back of the truck
- The front of the truck
- The area behind the side mirrors
These blind spots can easily hide a car, and it can be difficult to correct your movements at the last second.
5. Take It Slow
Don’t rush; stick to a reasonable speed, and follow the suggested speeds for hills and turns. If you’re in a particularly curvy area, take the turns carefully, and slow down a bit. And when you’re rolling through work zones, reduce your speed considerably to keep yourself, other drivers, and construction workers safe.
6. Avoid High Traffic Areas
When you can, try and avoid crowded areas in cities and towns. Take the backroads, and if you do venture into a crowded area in town, be sure to keep a decent gap between you and the car in front of you and carefully watch your blind spots as you maneuver through traffic.
7. Use Proper Signals
For every lane change and turn, use the correct blinker, and be sure to signal for at least 100 feet before you make your move. Also, use your hazard lights whenever you’re going much slower than the surrounding traffic or whenever you’re experiencing problems. For instance, you might put on your hazard lights while going up a steep incline.
8. Pay Attention to Your Health
One of the best ways to stay safe is to ensure you’re in good condition yourself. Exhaustion can draw your attention away from the road, and a tired brain can prevent you from making smart decisions as you travel. Get ahead of illnesses, and rest when you’re feeling under the weather. Allow yourself some time at home to recover from your long days, and spend some time with your family and friends for a little social boost.
While you’re on the road, don’t ignore your own energy levels. If your eyes slip closed for even a moment, you may find yourself in a dangerous situation. As soon as you feel tired or sleepy, pull over and get a little sleep. Don’t ever force yourself to keep going.
Truck driving can be demanding and strenuous, but it’s important to take the proper steps to ensure everyone on the road is safe, including yourself. Go slow, stay alert, maintain your truck, and take care of yourself. In doing so, you can reduce your risks and avoid problems.
But even if you’re cautious and take the proper safety measures, accidents can still occur. Because of the possibility of such situations, it’s important to get the right trucker insurance. To find the best policy for you, talk to a specialist, such as Metropolitan Insurance Service Consultants, Inc. We can help you personalize a policy, and we can also answer any questions you might have.