4 Essential Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

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(Newswire.net — September 6, 2019) — For many Americans, truck driving is an excellent gig. More than 3.5 million Americans hold jobs as a truck driver, thanks to relatively low barriers of entry and high pay.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that truck drivers can make anywhere from $43,000 to $80,000 per year with no education other than on-the-job training. It’s a great way to make a living, but it’s not devoid of safety hazards.

Truck drivers are carefully trained in safety procedures, but it’s all too easy to grow lax when you’ve been on the road for 14 hours a day, year in and year out. A trucking accident is bad news that could result in severe injuries and potential personal-injury lawsuits filed against you. 

Keep yourself and others on the road safe. Follow these four vital safety tips, and you’ll be fine.

1. Always Check Blind Spots

One of the most common causes of truck accidents is a failure to check blind spots. Other motorists are typically unaware of the unusual size of a trucker’s blind spot.

They may stay in that zone for longer than necessary, and if the trucker doesn’t check thoroughly, this can lead to a serious collision. As frustrating as it can be to have to work around the careless driving of others, it’s unavoidable.

Use extreme caution when changing lanes, turn on your signal for a few seconds before starting to move, and check your blind spots thoroughly. You might consider adding extra mirrors to your rig that can help you see dangers more clearly.

2. Take Care of Yourself

Many of the risks associated with truck driving come as a result of poor care. Lack of sleep, poor nutrition, little exercise, and isolation can result in you committing errors and making poor judgment calls.

As tempting as it can be to drive through the night several times per week, it’s not safe; get a good night’s rest. Studies indicate that sleepy drivers are just as dangerous as intoxicated ones.

Eating well and exercising whenever possible will also help to stimulate your brain, and improve your ability to make wise decisions. It will also promote your mental health by combatting the emotional problems associated with low levels of social interaction.

3. Maintain Your Vehicle

Many truckers own their rig, which means they’re responsible for its care and maintenance. If that’s the case for you, it may be tempting to ignore minor problems and skip pre-trip inspections in order to save time and money.

However, it’s not worth it! Your life and those of others on the road may depend on your observing proper care and maintenance of your equipment.

For example, you know as well as anyone the importance of brakes. A problem with your brakes could create a monstrous risk when you hit a downgrade. Make sure your vehicle is in top shape every time you hit the road, even if it’s expensive to do so.

Also, double-check your load to make sure it’s balanced and secure. A shifting load is one of the most common events that forces a driver to lose control, and/or the vehicle to roll. Loose materials from your load can also create a severe safety hazard for others on the road.

4. Safety Comes First

This may seem like an obvious point, but when you’re late to deliver a payload, and you aren’t going to receive your payment until you’ve arrived, this can lead to reckless driving decisions. You might exceed the speed limit, run yellow traffic lights, take curves faster than is safe, and pass other vehicles repeatedly while on the highway.

In addition, you may choose to hit the road even when weather advisories indicate it’s not safe. Many truckers can navigate blizzards and storms with skill, but is it worth that risk? Landing in a ditch will not only slow you down and cause potentially expensive damage to your rig, but it can also injure you and others.

Put your safety and that of others before your payload and check. Be smart while on the road and don’t take any unnecessary risks.