Driving safety is of utmost importance in the truck driving industry, and rightly so.
Being in charge of a vehicle that weighs several tons adds an extra layer of responsibility for those behind the wheel.
With that in mind, this article will run through several safety tips for truck drivers to ensure you’re not neglecting any of the basic requirements for carrying out your trucking driving duties safely.
1. Wear Your Seatbelt
According to the CDC, as many as one in every six truck drivers fail to wear their seatbelts while on the job.
Worse, out of truck driver or passenger fatalities, up to 40% could have been saved by wearing a seatbelt.
There’s a reason it’s the law. By wearing your seatbelt, you are much more likely to survive in the event of an accident.
So make sure to take care of this small life-saving decision each time you climb into the cab.
2. Stick to the Speed Limit
One of the most essential tips for truck drivers, whether new or relatively experienced, is to stick to the speed limits.
Not only is speeding illegal, but the limits are even more crucial to truck drivers specifically.
This isn’t because of how fast a truck moves.
Instead, it’s about how quickly you can bring your vehicle to a stop.
Speed limits are set with cars in mind, which have considerably lower stopping distances.
As a truck driver, you have to be alert and prepared for any situation unfolding on the road ahead of you.
If you are going well over the speed limit, then you will find it impossible to stop in time if traffic in front has unexpectedly come to a halt.
3. Don’t Touch Your Cell Phone
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that almost 3,000 people are killed per year by distracted drivers.
The leading cause of distraction at the wheel? Cell phones.
Therefore, it goes without saying that you should put it in a safe (unreachable) place to concentrate on the road.
With the advent of hands-free and Bluetooth-based options for driving, there’s no longer a need to be holding your cell phone to text or talk on the phone.
It’s also illegal in the majority of states.
In the case of an accident, if investigations show that you were on your cell phone in the build-up to a fatal accident, it could be considered a wrongful death.
4. Stay Healthy on the Road
In many ways, it’s what you do when not behind the wheel that determines how safe of a driver you are.
The first aspect you need to take care of is rest. Over 100,000 police-reported crashes and over 1,500 deaths are the direct result of drowsy driving each year.
Thus make sure you take frequent breaks and get enough sleep while on the job.
Also, try to avoid junk foods and sugary drinks since they are bound to make you sleepy after consumption.
What you eat will significantly impact your levels of alertness on the road, so try to keep it as healthy as possible.
Light exercise is also a good idea to freshen up your mind and body.
5. Always Keep an Eye On the Weather
Experienced truck drivers understand that they should always be paying attention to the weather.
Wet conditions can as much as double the stopping distance of a heavy vehicle.
In ice and snow, stopping distances can be as much as ten times as long.
Thus, you should check the weather before starting a driving stint.
That way, you can keep those factors in mind when driving in less than ideal conditions and equip your vehicle with any additional safety aids such as winter tire chains beforehand.
There you have it; you’ve now learned about five of the most critical truck driver safety tips.
Make sure to keep them in mind both before you’re on the road and once you’re behind the wheel.