Safety Tips for Truck Drivers
Truck drivers generally experience a different type of work environment than most jobs. Traveling the open roads and seeing the country in a whole new light can be a part of the appealing aspects of pursuing a CDL and becoming a truck driver. That said, the roads can be a place where things change quickly so truck drivers need to make sure they are always thinking about safety. The staff at our New England truck driving school has put together a few safety precautions that truck drivers can perform to do their jobs as safely as possible.
Importance of Truck Driver Safety
In order to be a safe truck driver, there is a lot to take into consideration and safety should be a major focus at any CDL training program like it is at NETTTS. Safety is one of the most important topics that any truck driver should be an expert in. Ultimately the other skills that a driver will need to perform won’t matter if the driver is not able to get the items from the pickup location to the delivery location in a safe manner.
Pay Attention to the Weather
The weather can be unpredictable and change quickly. Rough weather conditions require an added layer of precaution and can differ when factors like altitude, and other surroundings around the road change. Be extra careful when driving in the rain, snow, or strong winds by slowing down and being cautious around other drivers on the road. Keep your distance when visibility is bad because braking may become harder because of slick conditions. Give yourself and even bigger space cushion in potentially hazardous conditions. To be even safer, make sure you listen to the forecast ahead of time. This way you can make any necessary preparations for your vehicle as well as look into alternate routes if necessary.
Do Not Drive Tired
This is an important safety tip for truck drivers but also applies to anyone that drives in any kind of vehicle. While long-haul truckers are required to take breaks, if you are still feeling tired even after a break then it is your responsibility to pull over, fuel up, grab some coffee, do a few jumping jacks, take a nap, or blast some upbeat music and do not start driving again until you are ready. Being in a warm, dark, quiet and comfortable environment can make a driver feel tired. If this happens, you may want to try and create a little bit of discomfort by unrolling the window, turning up the music, and even start talking to yourself.
Driving distractions can include using the GPS navigation system, changing the music, eating, and of course, using your cell phone. All of these are extremely dangerous and could potentially lead to a crash. Cell phone use is especially an alarming issue with more and more states creating tighter laws around making sure drivers stay off their phone while behind the wheel. Keep your cell phone away and stay alert. Better yet, create an automated reply text that says “I’m driving and will get back to you later” for when you receive a text while behind the wheel. This way you will not need to take your eyes off the road. If something other than driving needs your attention, pull over.
From unplanned breakdowns to road closures, it is important to be as prepared as possible when on the road to avoid any unnecessary hazards. Check state websites for road closures so you can change your route if necessary. Make sure you always have all the necessary equipment in case of maintenance trouble including warning triangles, tire chains, and a flashlight. Pack extra water and snacks on trips in case you have long unexpected delays.
Many truck drivers often find themselves in unfamiliar places, so it is critical to be smart and stay aware of your personal surroundings even when pulled over for a break. Follow practical safety measures like locking your truck doors, and practice situational awareness so you are aware of your surroundings. Follow your gut if it tells you to find a different truck stop to take a break.
There is more that goes into safely driving a truck but if you follow these safety tips for truck drivers, then you may be well on your way. And if you’re considering career training to become a truck driver we can help. At NETTTS, we can help teach you how to operate a truck as well as the safety rules for truck drivers that you should follow.
Mike Demars is a 28-year trucking veteran, as well as a graduate of New England Tractor Trailer Training School with well over a million miles logged on the road. Prior to being the Regional Director of Safety & Training for our Connecticut locations, Mike spent over a decade on the road as an owner/operator of a long haul transportation company and previously managed drivers as a Driver Manager and Safety Director. He has achieved the level of Master Instructor and holds his certificate in Collision Avoidance, and is often sought as an industry expert to discuss practices within the field and to testify in transportation and trucking matters.