10 Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

  • 10 Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

    10 Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

    Safety is the top priority in the trucking industry. Yes, you want to get your freight where it needs to go. However, if it doesn’t arrive safely and intact, everyone loses money. More importantly, you need to practice safe driving habits for your own well-being, to protect other drivers on the road, and to avoid damaging your truck, trailer and cargo. You don’t want to risk your own life—or the lives of others—by being a reckless trucker. 

    Having a clean driving record and good safety practices will also enable you to land better jobs and higher-paying routes. Trucking companies and contract providers want to see that you have an excellent track record without accidents, injuries, traffic tickets or lost freight. Safe drivers who get the job done effectively will naturally progress further in their trucking careers. 

    Here are a few great safety tips for commercial truck drivers to consider:

    Always Perform Pre-Trip Inspections

    Before you even get on the road, you should perform a thorough pre-trip safety inspection of your truck. Check all your tires, test your brakes, check your mirrors, know your blind spots, and make sure all lights are working properly. Check fluid levels, windshield wipers and every other aspect of your truck that could have an impact on its safety and performance.

    Plan Your Route

    Your route may already be planned out by your employer, or you may have to plan it yourself. Either way, know your route in advance and be prepared if any detours need to be taken. You want to avoid situations where you are having to make panicked route changes on the fly.

    Prepare for the Weather

    A good trucker will be prepared for any weather conditions, from rain, fog and snow to extreme heat and wind. Track weather forecasts before and during your trip. Pack all the essential equipment and be ready for any adverse driving conditions you may encounter.

    Practice Alert Driving

    Never forget the fact you are driving a large truck with a lot of weight and a trailer that can easily get out of control. You have to be alert, defensive and attentive at all times, especially if other drives around you are being reckless. Minimize your distractions like phones, music, eating or drinking. Take breaks when necessary and avoid medications that cause drowsiness. Listen to your body and stay focused at all times when on the road in your big rig.

    Learn How to Load Safely

    An improperly loaded trailer or box truck can be extremely dangerous to drive. Weight distribution is extremely important. Securing the cargo is also critical to ensure nothing is shifting around when accelerating, stopping or turning. 

    Follow the Traffic Laws

    Speed limits (especially those for large trucks) are there for a reason, along with all other rules of the road. Following the posted traffic laws and trucking regulations is wise if you want a long, successful career in this industry. Avoid tickets and incidents that could hurt your driving record.

    Carry All Your Documents

    Don’t forget to bring along all the necessary documents for your vehicle, freight, etc. Be prepared to show your CDL, insurance and any documentation requested by a police officer, weigh station attendant or delivery recipient. 

    Use Technology When Appropriate

    Some technology can be a distraction when driving, like mobile phones or tablets that take your attention away from the road. Other technology can be very beneficial to commercial truck drives. We’re talking about dashcams to record any traffic incidents, GPS route guidance, and additional cameras around the truck and trailer to cover any blind spots. 

    Plan Your Stops

    It’s usually best to plan all your stops in advance so you aren’t doing anything unexpected. Know when you will be stopping for restroom breaks, meals or sleeping. This will help you keep a good schedule and get to your destination on time. At the same time, don’t force yourself to keep driving if you are feeling tired. Take an extra break if you have to. In fact, you can build a little extra time in your schedule for a few unplanned rest breaks if you have a habit of getting drowsy.

    Be Prepared for Anything

    No matter how much you plan and prepare, there are always surprises you can encounter out on the road. The best truck drivers are ready for anything and everything that can and will happen out on the road.

    Follow these tips and do everything you can to practice smart and safe driving habits. You will get where you need to go and your career will benefit from a clean driving record. 

    For more tips, training and information for commercial truck drivers, visit the America Truck Driving School blog. Contact us today to learn more about our safety training courses and CDL preparation programs.

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