Truck driving is not for the faint of heart. The open road, though freeing, is also dangerous, especially when you drive a huge big rig that weighs however many tons. It’s like a missile. Once that thing gets off track, there’s almost no stopping it. However, we’ve got a few truck driver safety tips that can help you stay safe on the road.
Truck driver safety tips
1. Drive defensively.
It’s so important to be alert and paying attention to the road when you drive. When you’re behind the wheel, drive defensively. That means following these three steps:
- Scanning for potential hazards or danger.
- Creating a plan to respond to the danger.
- Acting on the plan.
It’s essential that you’re always watching the road and staying fully alert. Know what’s happening around your truck and know how to get out of trouble if you encounter a dangerous situation. Catastrophe happens so quickly that you have to be ready to react at a split-second’s notice.
2. Don’t drive too fast.
Yes, trucking is a high-pressure industry. There are a lot of deadlines to meet. But speeding or driving too fast for conditions is not okay. Any accident that occurs will be more severe because of the extra speed, and it’s easier to lose control of the truck if you’re driving too fast. Trucks do not handle the same as regular cars. You may need to slow down below the speed limit to stay safe. Driving at a reasonable speed is a truck driver safety must.
3. Don’t drive drowsy.
Remember how we mentioned driving defensively and staying alert? You can’t be staying alert and look for danger if you’re struggling to stay awake and driving drowsy. Being sleepy impairs your reaction time and makes it difficult to make quick, important decisions. Your body needs sleep. Otherwise, your brain isn’t going to be able to keep up with the demands of driving.
4. Watch the weather.
Weather is not to be trifled with. It’s crucial that you’re aware of what weather you’re going to encounter on your trip. Keep an eye on the conditions around you. If it’s possible to adjust your route to avoid rain or storms, go for it. And if you’re on the road and weather conditions suddenly get really bad, pull over and get to a safe location so you can wait it out – rain can be downright treacherous.
5. Don’t text and drive.
Distracted driving is not a good idea. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds…and you can easily cover the length of a football field in that time if you’re going 45 miles per hour. You can’t control the actions of other drivers, but you can control your own. (And besides, the FMCSA ban on handheld cell phones for CMV drivers is a thing.) This one is crucial for truck driver safety.
6. Leave plenty of room between the truck and the car in front of you.
You need lots of room and space in front of your truck, so you need to leave a generous following distance. If something goes wrong, you’ll have more time to react and get yourself out of danger. You’ll be able to slow down if you need to and hopefully avoid an accident. Your truck can’t stop on a dime. Give yourself plenty of space.
7. Be careful driving in strong wind.
Physics is a funny thing. You wouldn’t think that something as simple as wind could tip over a semi truck, but it can. If the wind exerts enough thrust on your truck, it can actually make it fall over because of the wide, broad area of the sides of the trailer. Don’t underestimate the power of strong gusts of wind – strong wind is dangerous for semis.
8. Wear a seatbelt.
Truck driver safety 101: always wear your seatbelt.
If you’re in an accident, that seatbelt will keep you from being thrown into (or through) the windshield. It will keep you from being tossed around in the cab, where you could hit the steering wheel or dashboard. The seatbelt takes the force of the crash and distributes it over a wide area of the body to minimize injury, and it also protects the spine and neck. Anyway, there are lots of reasons to wear a seatbelt.
9. Be careful when driving in work zones.
Work zones can be stressful, so take extra care when driving through them. There might be changing lanes, workers, and slow-downs in traffic. It’s important to give yourself some extra room so you have time to stop if you need to. And be aware of workers who might be on the side of the road.
10. Try to avoid traffic.
Try not to be on the road in areas where there will be lots of cars or heavy traffic, and try to avoid driving at “rush hour.” Traffic is stressful, especially when you’re driving a large truck.
11. Be careful when driving at night.
Driving during the day is difficult enough. Driving at night? Yikes. It’s important to be extra cautious at night – slow down, take it easy, and be careful. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Night driving can play tricks on your eyes.
12. Check your rig frequently.
Be sure to check your truck often. Taking a walk around the tractor and trailer also gives you the chance to stretch. Basically, look for things that could make the truck unsafe. You may also want to check and make sure your load is good to go.
Observing the above truck driver safety tips can help you avoid accidents and stay out of harm’s way. Trucking might have lots of dangers, but by taking care and driving safely you can avoid disaster. Not only will avoiding accidents keep you safe, it can help you prevent claims and save money on your truck insurance.
Speaking of saving money on truck insurance, our team of transportation insurance can help you shop your rates so you can compare coverages and pricing. We can help you get the best coverage at the best rate. To get multiple truck insurance quotes, all you have to do is fill out our quote form or call us today.