A truck driver is prone to more accidents on a highway than cars. The size and weight of the truck make driving the truck more technical, and you need to be on your toes at all times to combat emergencies efficiently. In 2019, 1,328 deaths in large truck accidents occurred on interstate and freeways; 2,158 happened on other major roads; and 621 on minor roads.
If your job consists of riding up and down the highway, you must adhere to the safety tips for the truck drivers to ensure your and others’ safety on the road. This article goes through the highway safety tips for truck drivers.
Driving defensively is the number one rule of highway driving. It applied to all drivers, whether trucks, cars, trailers, etc. Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings, including other vehicles, road conditions, unexpected turns and speed bumps, etc. Driving defensively doesn’t necessarily mean driving slow, which is a good thing as well, but it means to be proactive and precautious about your surroundings.
However, some drivers do not mind the safe driving distance, known as tailgaters, even if you do all that. The drive rash and the lack of safe braking space often lead to accidents. Therefore, it’s best to stay away from those drivers by increasing your distance or changing the lane.
You can safely ride by following the most basic and easiest driving laws imposed in all states as common driving laws. One of those laws is keeping your seatbelt on. Seatbelts are only for the driver’s safety and have nothing to protect others outside of the truck.
On the other hand, an uncommon fact about the seatbelt is that your truck’s airbags will only work when wearing a seat belt. The airbags use a pressure monitor system that only activates when it crosses a certain threshold applied by the seat belt in an accident.
Use Your Signals
There are some rules truck drivers should implement to keep others safe on the road. This includes using your signals at the right time to indicate to others about your actions proactively. While using turn signals is a mandatory rule for all vehicle drivers, truck drivers should mind doing this well in advance of their actions since they have larger vehicles.
Trucks take more time to change the lane, make a turn, or even slow down. No matter how responsive your vehicle’s braking is, the size and weight inevitably delay the actions. Therefore, it’s better to indicate others well before you intend to do something that will disturb the course of the road.
Stay Away from Blind Spots
Visibility is essential for drivers to have a clear view of their surroundings to avoid collisions. A common denominator that affects the visibility is the blind spots of the vehicle. Generally, high-end modern cars and trucks have drive-assist features in increasing a driver’s visibility around the blind spots. However, not all trucks have these features. Especially if you are renting one from a fleet rental service, you have to work with what you get.
Since a truck is a larger vehicle, it has more blind spots than a smaller vehicle. The best practice you can do to combat the blind spots of your truck is to get familiar with them and know how to attain more visibility. Not only that. You should also have a good sense of the blind spots of the vehicles around you to know whether the driver can see you coming from a certain angle. Lastly, develop a habit of checking your side view and rearview mirrors every ten seconds.
Keep Distractions Away
One of the most common reasons for vehicle accidents is driving with distractions. Since the widespread use of the smartphone, it has become a major distraction for all drivers resulting in a significant increase in accidents. Commercial truck driving requires a licensed professional, and as being one, you are expected to follow the rules of driving that include keeping the distractions away while driving.
Other distractions you need to avoid are texting, getting too involved in discussions, managing the infotainment system for navigation or media, managing children, eating, or basically anything that takes your eyes off the road.
Follow the Hours of Service Rule
If you are driving on the highway for work reasons, you must know the Hours of Service Rule. Some employers and managers might force you to work overtime or ask you to comply, which might need you to drive more than you can bear. The Hours of Service Rule is made for employees to protect them from fatigue and unfair workload. Both employers and employees are expected to follow this rule.
Driver fatigue is another major cause of vehicle accidents. It is best to work only the hours you must work to keep yourself from fatigue, resulting in a low risk for accidents.
Don’t Drive Under Influence
Drunk driving is another common cause of road collisions. It’s not just the alcohol and drugs usage that is illegal and should be avoided during driving at all costs. Some medications have side effects such as drowsiness that can take you under its influence and should be avoided for safe driving.
On the other hand, certain energy drinks boost your blood pressure and make you feel highly active, leading to overspeeding. When the effect wears off, you can feel exhausted, affecting your driving skills.
Although driving under the influence is a leading cause of collisions, it is also against the traffic laws and results in heavy fines.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Ignore the Above Highway Safety Tips
These tips are more like a package instead of individual items that you should look at. Following all these highway safety tips ensure that you keep yourself, your truck, and others on the road safe.
Lastly, it would help if you also took precautions to keep your truck in the best shape before you even hit the highway. This involves knowing normal wear and tear for a truck and keeping your repairs up-to-date.