Truck driving is a dangerous job, requiring a great deal of skill, and carries a lot of responsibility for the safety of others. Truckers should have general safety guidelines to follow.
Know everything going on around you. Always look well ahead down the road and around your rig. When rolling down the highway, especially in heavy traffic, always plan an ‘escape route’. Be aware of who’s in front of you, beside you and behind you at all times. Being well rested keeps you at your best.
Check Weather Reports
Be aware of weather conditions prior to departing on a trip, and check the reports as often as you’re able while traveling. Keep an eye on your outside temperature to watch for changing road conditions. Knowing what to expect helps prepare for bad weather driving and necessary precautions can be taken.
Check Delivery Spots
When delivering, especially to a new customer, find a place to park safely, and scope out the place. Shippers will too often say, ‘Oh, we have trucks in here all the time, it’s ok’. Check for yourself. A truck can easily get trapped and unable to turn around or the docking facility just isn’t suitable for big rigs. By getting out of your truck and looking around for yourself, you’ll see obstacles that may be in your way, such as low fire hydrants, posts, ditches, etc.
Always leave plenty of room in front of your vehicle. This ‘buffer zone’ in front of your rig will protect you and your truck. Usually, if anything goes wrong, there’s a good chance it will be ahead of you. The more empty space you have in front of your unit, the more time you’ll have to ‘correct’ and slow down, if necessary.
Minimize Lane Changes
Pick a lane and stay in it. Cars will dodge and change lanes no matter what. If you do find it necessary to change lanes, move over very carefully, being aware of your blind spots and constantly check your mirrors. The odds of an accident significantly increases when changing lanes.
Use a Trucker’s GPS
A GPS designed specially for truckers will show which exit to take, distance before exit, when to change lanes, traffic reports, etc. These units can alleviate a lot of stress for the driver, especially when traveling in unknown areas.
Always take corners and ramps very slowly. Speed signs on ramps are for cars, not big rigs. It doesn’t matter if you hold up traffic. The main focus is to get around a corner and remain upright. Always drive with care and control.
Breaks & Checks
Take regular breaks as needed. Get in a good stretch. Do a walk around the truck and trailer, looking for soft tires, air leaks, and dripping coolant or oil. Speak to a big rig insurance agency about protection.