Trucking is no small or easy job. It can be a very dangerous one too considering that every year, there are at least six hundred accidents involving truckers, and thousands more involving commercial motor vehicles and drivers. For some who are lucky to still be alive, a repeat incident is something they thoroughly dread.
Unfortunately, many of these accidents would have been prevented –yes, there’s the occasional unavoidable accident- if the truckers had taken the necessary safety precautions. It’s not just enough to be a good driver, you should know the basics of safety and make it a way of life.
Avoid All Unnecessary Distractions
When you’re on the road, you need to stay focused. Sure, you probably know that, but with the advent and popularity of mobile devices, it is easy to get distracted whilst driving. Avoid taking a call unless you have a Bluetooth or hands free device –and even then, be extra careful.
As much as possible, avoid doing anything that will take your eyes off the road: this includes checking for stuff in the dashboard or trying to pick up something from the floor of the cab. All it takes is just one second for an accident to happen. So, try and stay focused.
Be on the Lookout for Inexperienced Drivers
Sometimes, the ignorant public may not have an idea of how fast you can accelerate or how long it takes you to brake and slow down. So, always watch out for the occasional inexperienced driver who thinks he’s having fun overtaking a truck.
As much as possible, do not get into any form of road rage. Yes, there will always be the occasional teaser or a group of college kids just “having fun”. Leave them be, even when they taunt you. Try and stay focused.
Avoid Tailgating and Signal On Time
The vast amount of truck accidents are caused by trucks tailgating a smaller car. So, as much as possible, keep a decent distance between yourself and the next vehicle. You know the truck still travels some distance before stopping when you brake.
So be very careful and avoid it completely. If you’ll be turning up ahead or crossing into the next lane, turn on your pointers long before you do that so that cars coming behind you will not run into you, causing an accident in the process.
Be Alert When Parking Your Rig
Many accidents –minor ones- happen when truckers are backing their rigs or parking them. As much as possible, check to make sure all is clear before backing the rig. And even after checking yourself –if you don’t have a conductor- horn severally so that just in case someone wandered to your blind spot while you were preparing to start the truck, they’ll move immediately. If you’re at a truck stop, this will be easier as other spotters will definitely help. If you have your doubts however, do a double check just to be sure.
Make Sure to Know Your Weaknesses and Strengths
Sure, you might be an amazing trucker, but you also need to know what your weaknesses and limitations are. This means that you should never overestimate your capabilities. This is even more imperative when you’re driving in icy or wintry conditions.
No matter how fast you need to get the goods to the location, make sure that you’re not over-speeding at any time. It’s generally difficult to control over-speeding trucks in normal conditions, how much more in more dangerous conditions. Also, make sure to get enough rest, get your eyes checked out twice a year, avoid alcohol while on the road and take your medications religiously if you have a health condition.
Discuss with Other Drivers
To gain even more experience, listen to and talk to other experienced drivers. Listen to what they have to say and ask questions about your specific type of rig. Sometimes, you will gain some new knowledge from just having a chat with them, particularly when you aren’t very experienced.
David Incorvaia is a Rollins College Senior. He majored in Music performance/business administration and currently performs around the southeast at various venues. Other then performing David enjoys trading options, reading, and cooking. If you are a professional driver looking for a provider for your DOT physical, David recommends visiting DriverPhysicals.com.
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