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Driver Tips

Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

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Rain, fog, and snow are some of the hazards truck drivers encounter everyday at work. With a rise in online shopping and deliveries, more and more truck drivers are on the road and to keep everyone safe, we’ll go over all the usual ways we can implement safe driving practices to avoid fatal crashes but also other safety tips that can help a team of truck drivers in addition to the singular truck driver.

Get Rest and Take Adequate Breaks

It’s no secret that driving can take a lot of energy out of you, but for truck drivers, driving is their job and sometimes they are making 150+ stops per day or driving for 14 hours. Trucker fatigue seems obvious, but it’s also very real and contributes to accidents deaths. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, it was reported that 13% of commercial motor vehicle drivers were considered to have been experience fatigue during their accident. Don’t drive when you’re feeling fatigued, ill and especially don’t drive when using over the counter medications that can make you feel drowsy or dizzy.

Use Your Signal

Truck and bus drivers have a massive amount of weight on their wheels so it’s incredibly important to account for this by using your signal lights early. Not only do you need to account for the slower movement because of the weight, truck drivers also need to keep in mind of other drivers on the road. Other drivers are usually trying to beat or get ahead of truck drivers because of the slower movement so it’s important to give them the heads up on what your next move is. Using your signal doesn’t only affect your safety, but it affects other vehicles as well.

Keep Lane Changes to a Minimum

Changing lanes can be extremely dangerous. If you must make a lane change, make sure to warn other drivers ahead before changing lanes with plenty of time so that even distracted drivers can be notified of your next move. It lets others have plenty of room to move away from you, especially when making wide turns. Trucks and large vehicles require extra space and extra time to make wide, careful turns.

Maintain a Safe Distance

When you are too close in front of another vehicle, you can be at risk of hitting another driver. Large trucks and buses need up to two football fields worth of distance in order to safely stop. A heavy pickup vehicle’s weight makes leaving space between you as well as others more essential to avoid accidents and make a safe stop or maneuver.

Driving too quickly, bad weather or road conditions or even failing to slow down in time for curves and ramps is a huge risk for not only crashes, but also roll overs.

Drive at the Speed Limit

This is one of the most important rules of driver safety whether you’re driving a truck or a personal vehicle. With the weight and size of trucks, speed is something that always needs to be in the back of your mind. Larger vehicles take longer and require more power to accelerate and will require more time to slow down. When it comes to driving hills, drivers need to be more aware since a truck will gain speed going downhill. Always be aware of your surroundings and never drive above the posted speed limit.

Always Wear Your Seat Belts

While this is something all drivers have been taught since day one, it is the most important rule of driver safety. Not wearing seat belts or safety belts is a key contributing factor of fatal crashes. This is a non-negotiable safety requirement as it can save lives and reduce injuries.

Avoid Distracted Driving

Using a cell phone while driving is incredibly dangerous and no matter what the purpose is, it is illegal for drivers of commercial motor vehicles to text while driving. Regardless of whether you were using the navigation app, reading a map… using a phone or doing anything that takes your focus away from the road is considered distracted driving. If it’s urgent, exit and make a safe stop before resuming.

Prepare for Dangerous Road Conditions

Since many truck drivers travel across the country for work, road conditions and weather are legitimate safety concerns. Road conditions vary continuously and can cause serious accidents for a truck driver. Make sure your truck is up to date with maintenance and safety inspections are complete, especially for brakes, brake lights and tires. It’s also very important to double check that the truck load is well-balanced and secure so that the truck driver can keep control of the drive and prevent a roll over and road hazards due to loose materials.

Develop Preventative Maintenance Schedules

Your drivers safety comes directly from your safety. Trucks and tractors which don’t maintain a good routine for maintenance such as oil and brake pads can get damaged on roads if they’re left in the wrong place. The Mobile Vehicle Gateway (VG) of Samara provides a live view of the ODO and engine data. Your mechanics can then develop a robust preventative maintenance schedule using this data.

Invest in a Dash Cam

The best thing to do when driving safely is to avoid any unfortunate accident, since the unexpected can occur regardless of who is in charge. One of the most underrated safety tips that could potentially save you from legal battles and insurance headaches is to invest in a dash cam. It is difficult to determine the exact cause of the accident. If you’d like better protection from your employer, we recommend investing in a high-quality dashcam. Its features include: Several thousand truck drivers are cleared every year for their negligence because the driver’s dashboard cameras can provide concrete proof and footage.

Encourage Defensive Driving

Defensive driving is a form of driving that encourages truckers in constant pursuit of potentially unsafe and dangerous conditions of traffic. Drivers are encouraged to reduce their potential for fatal collisions by preparing for potential risks and taking a safer and informed decision at home. The use of defensive driving techniques can reduce the risk of an accident and reduce the risk for deductibles or premiums.

Use a GPS or Mapping Device

A specially built GPS is useful in transportation. However, technology isn’t perfect, so it shouldn’t be your primary router. The truck atlas is the most reliable method for keeping your truck safe on approved routes for your trip. In areas with heavy traffic congestion utilize specialized atlas vehicles to plan alternate routes for traffic backup, construction zones etc. In addition, most shippers have step-by-step instructions for their equipment as part of loading documentation.

There are many GPS trucking apps out there with different features and lots of them have the trucking industry in mind. They include truck stop locations to make sure the driver is getting enough rest, they provide directions based on the weight and height of the truck so that the driver can avoid potential hazards, etc.

Have Tools in Place to Respond to Changes in Driving or Road Conditions

Road conditions are unpredictable especially in Long Haul drivers who travel long distances in different regions and states. Traffic or bad weather can affect drivers’ driving conditions in some cases more than others. The excessive traffic can cause trucks to stop and move continuously increasing the chance that they will get struck. Bad weather conditions can cause slipping and damage the driver’s visibility.

Watch Over Your Fleet with Real-Time GPS Tracking

RoadWarrior Flex is an app that allows drivers to be tracked in real-time. This allows the dispatcher to closely watch the fleet and make sure their safety is always prioritized. With real-time traffic updates, dispatchers can also make adjustments to the drivers routes when necessary. With close communication enabled and a dispatcher that is watching over them, drivers who use RoadWarrior can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they will be in good hands.

In addition to real-time tracking, RoadWarrior Flex also allows users to include notes about the stops on their route. These can be incredibly helpful for the driver and increase driver safety as it can reduce driving time and minimize risks and potential dangers.