Have you got yourself a truck or do you have aspirations to become a truck driver? It can be a great life on the open road and it’s the dream job of many Americans. Some drivers tackle harsh terrain – think of the Ice Road Truckers – whilst others have smaller trucks and drivers in the cities.
There are also many drivers who cover huge distances, traveling across the country.
If this is you and you’re a new truck driver then you’ll want some trucking safety tips. Here’s what you need to know about truck driving.
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1. Be Legal
Always make sure you get the right license before you start driving. You don’t want to find yourself pulled over and spending time in jail for not having the correct license.
Ensure that you get the correct license. Remember you may need more than just an average drivers’ license for a car. You might need a further license for a truck as well with more stringent requirements.
You might need insurance for your truck in the case of an accident. Also, ensure that your brake lights are working and that the truck, in general, is well maintained. This will ensure that you avoid run-ins with law enforcement.
Remember that the government has recently started closing loopholes for truck drivers so be sure not to get caught out.
2. Buckle Up
You need to ensure that you are safe and secure should you be involved in an accident. Always wear your seatbelt. Even if you find them annoying or restrictive on long journeys. 1.25 million people die in road accidents every year. It just isn’t worth the risk.
In a truck, this is more important than in a car or even a lorry as it’s such a big vehicle. An accident could lead to you being thrown about violently or even into the back of the truck where there could be heavy equipment.
If you need to adjust yourself then be sure to pull over first into a layby rather than taking off your seatbelt.
3. Rest Up
Driving while tired is one of the most dangerous things you can. It can be just as determinantal to your safety as driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.
Be sure to get lots of rest before you set off on your journey and take regular breaks. Planning your journey can help you figure out the best places to stop along the way such as highway service stations.
If you have a cabin built into your truck then be sure to make it comfy before you leave. Place cushions and your favorite pillows onto the bed. Bring some entertainment such as an audiobook or kindle to help you get off to sleep and see if you can also bring a kettle to make yourself some coffee or some instant noodles.
You might also want to see if you can arrange your resting points at places where other truck drivers also stop so that you have someone to talk to any don’t feel lonely. You could use online forums to enable you to do this.
4. Plan Your Route
One of the best truck safety tips is to always plan your journey. Don’t leave everything until the last minute. Plan your breaks and how long you think your journey is going to take.
Consider where you are going to refill to get more fuel and how far you can go on a full tank.
Also, be sure to take advantage of technology like Google Maps Street View to visualize any of the trickier aspects of your journey and how you are going to tackle them. If this is your time tackling this journey then go online and reach out to other truckers or forums to see what their advice is.
They might know about the regular pitfalls of that journey that you can hopefully avoid.
5. Leave Your Road Rage at the Truck Door
Driving can be stressful, we get it. We’ve all been there. But road rage isn’t going to help anyone. Not the other drivers who are probably just trying to get to places too on time as well or yourself.
If you get angry at every other driver that annoys you then you can find yourself unable to make proper decisions because you are so anxious and filled with rage. The best drivers – just like the best pilots – are the ones that can stay calm under pressure and rationally assess how to respond to situations.
If you know you are partial to a spot of road rage try to think of some techniques to calm yourself down. There are apps that you can download onto your phone that can help you with this.
Remember if you are so enraged by what another drive has done or you had a close shave and you feel shaken up, pull over and wait until you feel ready to hit the road again.
Accidents do happen, however, so be sure to hire a truck accident attorney if you get into a crash.
Trucking Safety Tips: Plan Your Trip Carefully
If you are wondering what the best trucking safety tips are then the best tip is to plan your trip carefully.
Network with other drivers to see if they have driven the route before and heed their advice about trickier aspects of the route. Also, make sure you know when you are going to take a break and for how long. Plan your fuel stops as well.
Ensure that you have comfortable nightclothes and a good night routine in place if you have a cabin in your truck. Have a kettle and some hot water available and take some books or a tablet loaded with audiobooks with you.
If you are interested in reading more about trucking safety tips or commercial driving safety tips then be sure to check out the rest of our site.