8 Safety Tips for Truckers
You may not think driving a commercial motor vehicle can be dangerous; however, truckers face their fair share of risk as well. Spending so many hours on the road leads to hundreds of deaths each year, along with thousands more injuries. It’s easy to become complacent behind the wheel, but truckers must always remember to drive with safety in mind. Here are eight trucking safety tips to refresh your mind.
1. Buckle up: Simply put, seat belts save lives. In fact, truckers who wear seat belts are 25 percent less likely to die in an accident. Wearing your seat belt prevents you from being thrown from the truck, which reduces the risk of serious injury and gives you a better chance of staying in control of the vehicle.
2. Check the blind spots: Many drivers are not aware of trucks’ large blind spots, called no-zones. In fact, this is where many truck-car accidents occur. Be vigilant about checking your mirrors before changing lanes or turning to avoid similar accidents.
3. Avoid idling: Apart from wasting gas, idling can create a concentration of toxic fumes. Either turn the engine off or keep the windows rolled up to avoid breathing in the fumes.
4. Get enough rest: A good night’s sleep is crucial for improving focus and mood. Staying awake for over 18 consecutive hours has effects that are comparable to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, which is considered legally intoxicated.
5. Leave time for braking: It takes longer for a truck to come to a complete stop than a car, so it’s important to leave plenty of space for braking so you have enough time. This is especially true in poor weather when it may take even longer to stop.
6. Take a break: Pull over every two to four hours so you can exit the vehicle, stretch out your arms and legs, use the restroom, grab a bit to eat and do whatever else helps refresh you. You’ll stay more alert if you take frequent short breaks.
7. Keep it slow: It’s important to adhere to speed limits, but you must slow down your truck during bouts of bad weather. Drop your speed by one-third in the rain and by half in snow/ice to prevent skidding or jackknifing.
8. Put down the cell phone: Cell phones distract your attention away from the road, plain and simple. Never text or check emails while driving. If you must take a call, commercial motor vehicle drivers must use a headset or pull over according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.