11 Truck Driving Safety Tips for a Truck Driver

Operating a heavy vehicle is not an easy job. Truck driving can be really risky if you aren’t following precautions. Improving the driver’s safety ensures their protection and reduces costs associated with accidents, claim payouts, and insurance premiums. Being on the road for a long time is exhausting. Driving with exhaustion and lack of sleep can make driving very dangerous. Small minor negligence can be fatal for you and those driving beside you.

Understanding Why Trucking Safety Matters

Safety is a major concern when you’re driving a truck. According to the National Safety Council, there were 5,700 large trucks involved in a fatal crash. That is an increase of 18% from 2020. A safe trucking journey is beneficial for both the driver and the company. Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere if you’re not careful enough.

The average cost for a truck accident involving only one person is $148,279, but it’ll increase with the number of people involved. Productivity and customer service will increase if you are not involved in an accident because of the fewer lost work days. Other benefits are lower insurance costs, immediate ROI and many more.

Read about the AEB Mandate Debate on balancing safety and the real world on Truck Driver News.

Safety Tips for Every Truck Driver

With all the potential danger on the road, your most important priority is safely making it to your home Here are some important tips for safe truck driving.

Properly Plan the Truck Trip

Having a proper plan before starting your trip is very important. There are a lot of unexpected events that can happen on the road, so you need to be prepared for everything. Weather, routes, safety of the good, traffic and many more. A planned trip finishes much sooner than an unplanned trip. Having a set route, being informed about the weather, and all the safety precautions that should be taken while entering a dangerous area are very important, so you should always have a plan before starting a trip.

Inspect the Truck (Pre- driving)

Before hitting the road, you should always check the truck. Inspecting the truck before driving the truck is important for the safety of your vehicle and you.

The most important things to check are:

  • The physical inspection of tyres
  • Lights
  • Reflectors
  • Indicators
  • Breaks
  • Engine
  • Gauges
  • Any oil leaks

Always Buckle Up Seat Belt

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45% and serious injury by 50%. The seat belt was mandatory in the US in 1968. Seat belts have saved many lives. You should always wear seat belts before starting your journey to reduce risk in case of an accident.

Practice Defensive Driving

You have no control over other drivers. You cannot assume they are driving with safety. Defensive driving is the best option for protecting yourself.

Here are a few defensive driving strategies and practices to encourage your drivers to use:

  • Watch out for blind spot: A blind spot is a point around the car where the driver cannot detect the presence of objects or other vehicles. Operating a truck that is high off the ground can make it difficult to spot vehicles behind or next to you. You should look over your shoulder and out the windows when changing lanes and have plenty of room around other vehicles when merging.
  • Practice the three-second rule: To avoid getting into accidents, remember the “three-second rule” when driving. This means you should keep at least three seconds of space between your truck and the one in front of you.

    But when the weather is bad, like when it’s rainy or windy, make it five seconds. And in really snowy conditions, give yourself a full ten seconds of space. This extra space helps keep you safe on the road by giving you more time to react if something unexpected happens.

  • Be prepared for emergencies: When you’re driving for a long distance, things can change quickly. So, it’s a good idea to be ready for different emergencies like bad weather or your car breaking down. Keep stuff like water, snacks, a first aid kit, and other important things in your car, just in case you need them. This way, you’ll be prepared for anything that comes your way during your journey.

Drive Under the Speed Limit

Being under the speed limit is another important tip for reducing the accident risk. Speeding is dangerous and can even be expensive for your company if you get a speeding ticket. 28% of fatal accident happens due to speeding.

Use Proper Signals

Signal gives the other drivers plenty of time to notice your upcoming action. If you are going to change lanes or pull over, you should signal the surrounding traffic for a safer driving experience. Failing to signal before taking a certain action can lead to a collision.

Brake on Time

The truck needs to apply break sooner because it is heavier than other vehicles. You should always be cautious about stopping the vehicles. Applying break on a truck requires more time to come to a halt. Breaking on time is important to avoid collision.

Stay Focused

Staying focused is very important while operating every vehicle. Avoiding distractions can help avoid accidents. Truck drivers should avoid using cell phones, eating, or driving without enough sleep.

Take Timely Breaks

CMV(Commercial Motor Vehicle) must take 30 minutes break after 8 hours of driving. Timely break is important for your health and safety. Timely break helps trucker reduce accident caused by fatigue.

Practice Work Zone Safety

Work zones present many hazards like lane changes, sudden stops, bumpy roads, workers and equipment, etc. Unfortunately, there are more deadly accidents happening in work zones.

So, it’s really important to take work zone safety seriously:

  • Slow down, leave extra space between your car and the one in front, and be ready to stop if needed.
  • Follow all the signs and signals in the work zone – they’re there to keep everyone safe.
  • Pay attention to what’s happening ahead, and watch out for cars entering your blind spots.
  • Keep an eye out for road workers and people holding flags – be extra careful around them.

Inspect the Truck (Post Driving)

Post-trip inspection is done after completing the journey. Post-inspection is as important as pre-inspection. It ensures safety, limits company costs, prevents accidents and prepares the truck driver for their next trip.

The post-trip inspection includes:

  • Brake system
  • Engine
  • Tires
  • Oil pressure
  • Lights and indicators
  • Air compressor
  • Oil leakage

Consequences You May Bear When Ignoring the Trucking Safety Tips

Ignoring safety tips in the trucking industry can have terrible consequences. It significantly raises the risk of accidents, potentially causing harm to both truck drivers and other road users. This neglect can result in injuries, damage to property, legal troubles, and even job loss. In addition, it can lead to higher insurance costs and damage a trucker’s or company’s reputation. Ignoring safety guidelines can result in the loss of precious lives.

Therefore, following trucking safety tips is not just a recommendation but an absolute necessity to ensure the well-being of all involved and maintain the decency of the industry.

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