After being certified and licensed as a truck driver and getting your trucking authority, the excitement of finally hitting the road might cause you to forget just how critical road safety is. It is very important though to remember that your safety and that of your fellow road users will determine how successful or otherwise you will be in your trucking career. Nothing will be more important than ensuring that you and the road users around you are safe.
Trucking seems so straightforward and easy, but “looks” can be deceiving. Considering how big and powerful these vehicles are, maintaining safety is paramount.New drivers must always bear in mind the following safety tips every time they are behind the wheel:
Ensure your vehicle is loaded safely
Supervise how your truck is loaded. Ensure that it is carefully done to avoid potential mishaps while on the road. The higher you will load your truck, the more drag you will experience and the higher the chances of your semi jackknifing. Try as much as possible to stack your cargo lower and spread it evenly throughout the trucks space, as this will improve your control making it easier for you to maneuver.
Perform regular maintenance checks on your truck
Before starting her up daily, make sure to do a thorough safety check of your vehicle to minimize risks. Always check the status of the brakes, horn, lights, seatbelts, the fluid levels, the battery charge, the coolant, tire pressure level, the position of the mirrors and so on.
Ensure that all these things are functioning properly and never overlook even one thing that is not working, no matter how small it seems. Ensure you have your fire extinguisher is working and that it is properly maintained. Always take the emergency triangles with you. Your first aid kit should have all the basics. The more it can carry the better.
Other than regular checks, you need to have the best car/truck accessories and parts to lessen the chances and impacts of accidents. Say for example, having big rig bumpers can significantly lessen the impact of an accident. On the other hand, semi stacks can keep the noise level low to help you concentrate on the road and drive safely.
Drive cautiously in work/construction zones
Slow down every time you are approaching a work or construction zone. According to statistics, about one third of all the accidents that occur at construction zones involve large trucks. At a construction site, there are bound to be people moving about, other vehicles, debris as well as falling things. It is best to slow down and get to your destination in one piece. Take note of all the road signs when driving through such zones.
Know how to monitor your blind spots
Familiarize yourself with your blind spots or the no-zones while on the road. Many accidents happen because of the motorist’s ignorance of their blind spots. Most of these spots are usually to the side in front of the cab, behind the truck or behind the side mirrors. A big number of car drivers are unfamiliar with the truck rules that they are supposed to follow when driving. Therefore, it is your responsibility as a truck driver to take care and drive with extra caution to avoid accidents.
Monitor the weather keenly
A considerable percentage of truck-related accidents are caused by serious weather. When you find yourself driving in poor weather conditions like wet and snowy roads, reduce your speed and be extra vigilant when your visibility is affected.
Take time when changing lanes to ensure the other road users see your signal before you change your lane. If you notice other drivers pulling over their trucks, it would be prudent of you to do the same.
Reduce speed when approaching curves
Most of the speed limit signs on the roadways are mainly for smaller and lighter vehicles since trucks are generally not supposed to drive at high speed. Always reduce your speed when navigating curves, turns, bends and steep grades no matter how slight they seem.
Pay close attention to any speed limit sign targeting trucks and remember that driving at a higher speed in such areas only increases the risk of your vehicle tipping over.
Keep fit and healthy both physically and mentally
Before you sit behind the wheel, ensure you are healthy enough to do so. Get enough sleep before hitting the road, eat right and keep fit by exercising whenever you get a chance. If you ever feel drowsy, park your truck in the safest spot that you can find and rest.