Every year, truck drivers cover tens of thousands of miles across the nation. These 50 suggestions can improve the security and comfort of those miles.
Truck driving is a common profession in the US with over 1.4 million people employed in the industry. Having a career as a truck driver can be very rewarding for those who enjoy being on the road. To make the experience safer and more rewarding, take a look at the following.
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Always use a seatbelt
Many states have laws requiring you to use a seatbelt because they save lives. Do not give police officers a reason to stop you just because you are not buckled up in your car.
Refrain from using a phone or being distracted
Pull over and stop first if you need to send, read, or make a phone call. It is dangerous to do anything that diverts your attention from the road. When operating a multi-ton truck, you want to stay clear of anything that could result in a collision.
Obey the rules governing hours of service
According to FMCSA regulations, you must take at least a 30-minute break after eight total hours of driving and must stop working for at least 10 hours each day. Breaking those laws leads to fatigue, which raises the risk of accidents. These are merely the bare minimums; the more breaks you take, the safer you will be.
Always be aware of your surroundings and drive safely. Although you have no control over other motorists, if you drive defensively, you can lessen the possibility that they will hit your truck.
Be Aware of Blind Spots
A University of Michigan study found that most fatal collisions involving large trucks are not the trucker’s fault. Sadly, this simply means that you need to be extra cautious around reckless drivers. You can maintain awareness of the vehicles approaching your truck and respond appropriately by frequently checking your mirrors.
Reduce the number of lane changes.
It is possible for lane changes to be quite risky, especially if a car has gotten into your blind spot. You should signal before changing lanes as early as possible and as little as possible. Other vehicles will have plenty of time to move out of your way as a result.
Recognize local laws
Every state you pass through in a car has a different set of traffic laws. Before entering a state, familiarize yourself with any laws that directly apply to you. If you are unsure, drive cautiously, slowly, and try to stay in the right lane as much as you can.
Employ GPS Devices When Trucking
Regular drivers can benefit greatly from Google Maps, but truck drivers should not rely on their vehicle’s GPS. The routes that a truck GPS selects are specifically made to accommodate the height and weight of your vehicle.
Go at a Secure Speed
You might be tempted to speed because you have a schedule to keep. But if the police stop you for speeding, you will lose a lot more time. Always drive within the posted truck speed limits. Be mindful that your truck will naturally accelerate when traveling downhill, so you will need to slow down even more.
Be aware of steep hills and use your backup brakes
When you drive a truck, brake failure from excessive use is extremely dangerous. You should probably use your auxiliary brakes to defend your brakes if a hill has a steep hill warning or as a reduced truck speed. On any hill with an emergency runaway truck ramp, you should unquestionably use them.
Make a travel plan
Planning ahead for a few minutes before you start driving can help you avoid spending hours on the road. Examine the upcoming weather and road conditions, and alter your course if necessary. You can plan a simple and secure route with the aid of your truck GPS.
Maintain Your Distance
Large trucks may need to stop safely by traveling up to two football fields. Whenever possible, you should leave plenty of space between your car and the one in front of you, even if it means slowing down.
Take care when making wide turns
For a truck, almost all turns are wide turns. Slow down, signal early, and double-check all blind spots before making any turns. Even with these safety measures, you might still be in danger while turning, so be prepared to safely stop if necessary.
Use Your Signal, please
You are operating a large vehicle that can turn in extremely wide radii. Although there are many factors out of your control on the road, you can give other drivers plenty of warning beforehand you make any turns so they have more time to move out of the way. When attempting to change lanes, the same applies.
Take a nap
Many truck drivers spend 14 hours a day on the road and then attempt to fit a full social schedule into the final 10 hours. Chronic fatigue can be made with this recipe. Take many breaks, and each night, get a full eight hours of sleep.
Eat Healthily 16.
When traveling, it is simple to only eat fast food and greasy food. Your health and waistline will suffer from this. Make an extra effort to include in your meal plan foods like fruit, vegetables, and other components of a healthy diet.
Be aware of the consequences of OTC medications.
When experiencing allergy symptoms, you might be tempted to take Benadryl. Benadryl also makes people drowsy, which makes driving dangerous. Before using any over-the-counter medication, be aware of any potential side effects.
Get Enough Rest
One 30-minute break per day is mandated by law, but taking just one break can be detrimental to your health. If you take regular breaks throughout the day, especially if you get in some stretching or exercise, you will feel less worn out and more comfortable.
Put on comfy clothes
You should not be required to wear a buttoned-up shirt with a tie, and no one is forcing you to. Dress in loose-fitting, breathable clothing that will not restrict your movements and permits healthy blood flow.
Take Road Vibrations Into Account
Your truck vibrates as you drive as it crosses the pavement. Your body is under stress from those vibrations, which could eventually be detrimental. Take periodic breaks or add padding to your seat to protect your body from these vibrations.
Have an emergency kit on hand.
Every truck should have an emergency supply kit that includes food, water, blankets, and medical supplies. This kit will save your life if you get hurt or become stranded for a few days.
Take breaks (but not on the shoulder) in parking lots or rest areas.
Occasionally, you might need to pull off onto a shoulder, but this should not happen often. Generally, you should stop for breaks in parking lots or rest areas to prevent accidents with stationary trucks.
Take Extra Care Around Schools and Work Areas
Work zones are extremely hazardous for truck drivers because of pedestrians crossing the street or walking close to it and the narrowed lanes. To avoid an accident that could have been avoided, you should exercise extra caution in any work or school zone.
While traveling long distances, it is simple to lose focus. This is how accidents happen to people. To ensure that you have enough time to react safely, you should constantly be checking the road ahead for potential hazards.
Have a dash camera.
Hopefully, you will not ever be involved in an accident. But if that happens, you should have video of the incident, especially if you were not at fault. If someone breaks into your truck, a dash cam can be crucial evidence.
Let friends and the dispatcher know where you are.
Maintain consistent contact with your dispatcher and friends, and schedule regular check-ins at predetermined times. In case of emergency, they can let the police know where you last checked in and give them a general idea of what happened.