It’s no secret that being on the open road has many dangers, which truck drivers must face each day during working hours. It’s easy to grow comfortable behind the wheel, but you should always remember the importance of staying alert. Follow these ten safety tips to make the roads a safer place for everyone.
1. Sleep well: Sleep deprivation can lead to grogginess, a lack of focus and even irritability. In fact, staying awake for 18 consecutive hours is comparable to having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent, which can severely weaken your reaction times.
2. Inspect your truck: Learn how to check your brakes, headlights, taillights and turn signals. Make sure your truck is in proper working order before hitting the road to keep everyone safer.
3. Check your blind spot: Trucks have very large blind spots, called no-zones, which many cars are not aware of. One-third of all accidents between trucks and passenger vehicles occur in the no-zone. Use your mirrors before turning and changing lanes.
4. Brake early: Trucks require a longer distance than passenger vehicles in order to come to a full stop. Keep plenty of distance between you and the car ahead, and brake early to ensure enough time to stop.
5. Wear your seat belt: Plain and simple, seat belts save lives. Without one, many truckers are thrown from the vehicle during an accident, which causes more problems as the truck continues to move without a driver controlling it. Truckers wearing seat belts are 25 percent more likely to survive an accident than those without.
6. Avoid cell phone usage: Talking on the phone while driving reduces brain activity associated with the task at hand by 37 percent. Avoid phone conversations when possible. If you must take a call, use a wireless headset or pull over if possible.
7. Slow down in bad weather: To keep from skidding or jackknifing, slow your speed by one-third on wet roads and by at least half in snowy or icy conditions.
8. Ease over exit ramps: Posted speed limits on exit or entrance ramps to highways are meant for smaller vehicles and they can, in fact, result in trucks rolling over or otherwise losing control due to their high center of gravity. Take it slow when navigating such curves.
9. Take breaks: Exit your truck for a break every two to four hours. Stretch out your arms and legs, breathe in some fresh air, use the restroom etc. All of these activities refresh your focus and keep you more alert.
10. Avoid idling: The fumes emitted from a truck are toxic if concentrated in one location for too long. Not to mention idling for more than a few minutes is an unnecessary waste of gas. If you must idle, keep the windows closed so you don’t breathe in the fumes.