One doesn’t become a fully skilled and safe truck driver on obtaining a CDL. He should build on his skills and self-confidence by continuing to learn and practice safe driving. All truckers should follow some simple yet vital driving safety rules to prevent dangerous crashes. The safety rules that we are referring to start before a road trip until after the completion of a trip.
Safety Rules Before Starting Trucking Profession
Drivers must take all measures to maintain good health. They must stay abreast of climate, road conditions, traffic, and driving regulations in different states.
Drivers must follow some key winter weather driving tips.
Before one enter in a trucking industry, it’s strongly recommended to take CDL training from a good institutes. It’s important to stay comfortable throughout a long drive. Drivers must adjust the steering wheel, seat, and backrest and take breaks at intervals of a few hours.
They should get their trucks’ turn-by-turn navigation set before starting a journey.
A must-do before a trip is a safety inspection. Drivers must check truck brakes and tires. It’s equally important to properly balance truckload in the correct place.
1) Practice defensive driving
During a journey, truck drivers have to negotiate distracted drivers and not so experienced drivers. They must adjust to all such conditions.
A few defensive driving practices are:
- Looking closely ahead for work sections and traffic concerns – Drivers must follow all work, construction, and school zone signs. They should be more careful in Work zones. There are abrupt stops, confused vehicles, lane shifts, workers and more. Drivers must follow signals of flag crews
- Checking mirrors frequently, maybe every 10 seconds for checking vehicles coming from behind
- Controlling the speed of trucks as per the local driving regulations and respecting fellow drivers on the road
2) Stop Distracted Driving
A very important safety message for truck drivers is stopping distracted driving.
Drivers focusing on tasks besides driving are at fault of distracted driving. The cause of distracted driving is tech gadgets including mobile phones and other electrical devices.
Many truck drivers are at fault of texting driving distractions and often have crashes, acute accidents, and fatal incidents.
Some other possible reasons for fatal accidents are eating, drinking, map reading, using navigational tools, and more.
Some practices for avoiding distracted driving are:
- Keeping the mobile device close at hand
- Getting a one-touch dialing device
- Obtaining a phone that has a speaker
- Not driving a truck with a pet
- Not spending more time eating or drinking
A truck driver who has to contact somebody or have a snack must wait at a place for a while
3) Maintain a safe distance in front and ample space all around
Drivers who leave ample space before their vehicle enjoy the best visibility. It’s also important to leave ample space all around their vehicle when possible.
Getting surrounded by cars in traffic is a problem. Drivers might find a vehicle in their blind spot as they try and shift lanes or move,
Truck drivers will have a hard time keeping ample space all around in heavy traffic. A prudent move in such a situation is slowing down and letting the other trucks go ahead. In this way, drivers will have a large operating distance before them. Traffic in front is unpredictable and the truck behind them must get time to react. Traffic at a very close distance in front won’t give a truck enough time to react.
4) Maintaining enough Space for a safe halt
Truck drivers must ensure sufficient stopping distance amidst their truck and motor vehicles before stopping their truck
Staying watchful and applying common sense reduces crashes. The driver must capitalize on signals and brakes to do a safe stop. They must keep 7 to 10 seconds in hand to stop their truck.
5) Put Seat Belts on
Buckling does not just keep truck drivers secure and conscious inside their vehicles in the event of crashes. It ensures that they don’t get ejected from their vehicles.
Truck drivers can ensure correct fitting by following the guidelines below.
- Securing a lap belt across their hips or pelvis and not their stomach
- Securing a shoulder belt across their rib cage. It should not rub against their neck
- Not putting the shoulder belt behind their back or beneath an arm
Drivers who require a roomier belt should get a seat belt extender from their vehicle manufacturer
6) Checking the mirrors often
Truck drivers must always know what’s happening all around their vehicles.
They should check the blind spots. They must always check their mirrors to monitor the traffic around.
They must watch out for a flat tire. A flat tire with the rim rubbing against the highway will generate smoke. So, truck drivers must watch out for smoke coming out from beneath and should pull over.
7) Paying attention when re-entering the highway
Truck drivers must check the signs and know the turns to re-enter the highway from a truck stop. Drivers who miss a turn:
- Must not panic and do a U-turn to get back across a thoroughfare
- Halt at a place off the highway to get back their composure. They must be prepared to go around the block or take the next exit
Drivers who meet dead-end should call the law enforcement agency for assistance in backing out.
8) Keeping Headlights Clear
Clear headlights guarantee safe driving at night. Drivers must maintain clean headlights for making everything visible. This who practice ensures their safety and that of other drivers as they can maneuver their vehicles safely.
9) Driving in harsh climatic conditions
Even drivers who stay updated on the climate cannot avoid all storms. Drivers should understand dangerous conditions and follow some storm safety tips and understand some extreme weather warnings.
- During Severe Thunderstorms, winds can rise to 58 mph. Drivers must keep both their hands on the steering wheel
- A Severe Thunderstorm Warning implies that a severe thunderstorm is going on and can continue for 30 minutes to an hour. Drivers must take proper measures for driving on slippery roads and be good at steering out of a slip
- Tornado Watch implies possible tornadoes in an area and drivers must be ready to take cover
- Tornado Warning implies the spotting of a tornado and drivers must take cover instantly. However, they should try and not halt beneath bridges or tunnels
10) Avoid Exhaustion
Truck drivers have to endure extended daily and weekly work hours that tire them out. More fatigue makes drivers prone to chronic health conditions and accidents. They must maintain a healthy diet, do simple workouts between drives, and sleep well to avoid fatigue.
Several other things help reduce fatigue. Some of them are:
- Chatting with pals or family members on the phone
- Not having too much caffeine
- Turning down the dash lights
However, when they feel too tired they should pull over their car and enjoy a nap.
The topmost priority of a truck driver is safety. Drivers who follow the safety messages mentioned above will return home from their work happy. There are more safety tips that truck drivers must know.