Trucking is one of the most important jobs of the modern era, but it also ranks up there amongst the most dangerous. Every year in the U.S. around 600 truckers lose their lives in highway accidents while thousands more are injured. As increasing numbers of trucks take to the road, the tally of accidents involving commercial motor vehicles goes up.
Maintaining a long, successful, and safe trucking career means more than simply taking extra breaks on long journeys and practicing safe driving techniques. Whether you are one of the many new truck drivers taking to the road or a veteran behind the wheel, these four safety rules will help you avoid adding to the statistics.
Image via Flickr by David Guo
Maintain Your Truck: Check your tires for wear, cracks, and embedded objects, while also ensuring that they are inflated to optimum levels. Tire pressure monitoring systems can be a worthwhile investment for the busy trucker. Some of these devices even re-inflate tires to the correct levels when needed. Other key checks to carry out before you use the vehicle include fluid levels, brakes, mirrors, and the horn. Since long haul truckers don’t get paid until after loads are delivered, many truckers take advantage of freight bill factoring in order to get the necessary money up front to pay for repairs and maintenance.
Maintain Your Body: An often neglected aspect of trucking safety is the driver’s health. Health issues in truckers are a major contributor in many accidents involving trucks. Keeping healthy as a trucker is not always easy, but the basic aims should be to get adequate sleep, eat healthy, and drink a lot of water. Exercise is also an important aspect of staying healthy. This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym five times a week; you can get a lot of benefits from regular walks, biking, or swimming.
When you are not stuck behind the wheel, make a conscious effort to get some form of exercise. You can even use your truck for certain exercises, as the attorneys over at Tracey & Fox highlight. This will help you to remain healthy, more alert behind the wheel, and ultimately to be a safer driver.
Adjust Driving Habits: There is very little margin for error when hurtling along the freeway in a 40 ton truck ladened with goods. Things like driving at a reduced speed can have a huge impact on the chances of you having an accident. The speed limit is simply a guideline and mostly biased towards cars. Drivers of trucks who aim to adhere to the speed limit could find themselves taking corners or off ramps a little too fast at times. For this reason, it is important to set your speed far lower than the actual limit.
Technology can also have a negative impact on your driving habits. Although electronic gadgets have a mostly positive impact on our daily lives, many of these devices can become dangerous distractions to a truck driver. Keep safe and limit your use of cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices to pit stops.
Know Your Limits: While many drivers are expected to push themselves to the limit on a regular basis in order to meet tight deadlines, it is worth noting that during these high periods of stress and fatigue that most accidents occur. Be sure to adhere to the commercial driver hour restrictions, as this will not only keep you on the right side of the law, but it will also help to keep you and other road users safe. Take plenty of breaks and include the occasional nap to help fight fatigue and maintain your concentration.
There are many perks to being a trucker, including the security of working in one of the biggest industries in the world, not having a boss constantly looking over your shoulders, and the ability to travel to many states and countries. The real secret to success as a trucker, however, is to remain healthy and safe.