Trucks serve as lifelines for the transportation and logistics sectors, transporting heavy-duty goods across long distances and allowing industries to broaden their horizons. Today, it is impossible for several small and large-scale businesses to sustain without trucking. According to a report by Statista, as of 2020, the trucking industry is worth 732.3 billion dollars nationwide. Here are some quick tips for newbies in the truck-driving space to become more proficient in driving a truck.
Don’t skip the pre-trip inspection
Trucks are heavy vehicles prone to fatal accidents, with approximately 30,000 truck accidents taking place in the country each year. Pre-trip inspections are essential to ensure one’s safety on the road. Some aspects to check during a pre-trip inspection are brakes, seatbelts, the steering wheel, reflectors and lights, the emergency kit, and wheels and tires. Creating a pre-trip inspection checklist can help truckers ensure that they check all safety parameters before commencing their journeys.
Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles
Truck drivers require sufficient space around their vehicles to be able to keep an eye out for blind spots and avoid collisions. In general, there are four blind spots a trucker must consider while navigating the vehicle – the first one situated directly behind the vehicle, the second and third on either of its sides, and the fourth one in front of the truck. Moreover, being heavy vehicles, trucks require more time to come to a complete halt as compared to other lighter vehicles. Consequently, maintaining a distance allows drivers to halt in time in case of emergency situations.
Check the mirrors frequently
The front and rear-view mirrors of a truck help drivers spot vehicles following them and maintain a safe distance from them to avoid accidents. It is important for truckers to frequently shift their gaze from one mirror to the other to look for vehicles approaching from all directions. Practicing this essential skill in a still vehicle for starters can help truckers get accustomed to checking the vehicle mirrors frequently.
Check the truck again after parking
A common mistake most truckers make is to directly walk away from the truck after parking it. Often, one may forget to turn off blinkers or headlights after parking the vehicle. Thus, it is important to check one’s vehicle after alighting it and before heading to the destination.
Be aware of the trailer at all times
An effective truck driving tip for beginners to gauge their safety on the road is to check their trailer’s position frequently. If the trailer deviates from the line or treads outside the road, it is a sign that the truck is not being driven safely. Truck drivers must be constantly aware of their trailers to ensure vehicle safety.
Get enough sleep before the journey
A truck driver’s job is tedious and demanding, requiring one to undertake journeys late into the night and be on the road for long hours at a stretch. In a study conducted to gauge truck driver fatigue, approximately 18% of truck drivers reported having fallen asleep behind the wheel. Such sleep deprivation can prove fatal, causing serious injuries and even deaths. It is crucial for truck drivers to take adequate rest and ensure quality sleep for 7-8 hours during their off-shift time to avoid accidents and stay alert while driving.
Understand the safety policies
A company’s occupational health and safety (OHS) department is concerned with preventing injuries and accidents at work and providing the necessary safety training to employees. This department also lays down and enforces safety policies and protocols that employees must follow for their well-being. New truckers must go through and understand such safety protocols thoroughly and seek clarifications, if any, promptly with the concerned authorities.
Be careful before and while reversing
Reversing can be a dicey job, especially for newbie drivers of heavy vehicles like trucks. It is best to avoid it over long distances and always keep an eye out for blind spots while reversing. Moreover, drivers must check for any obstructions in parking areas before reversing their trucks in these spaces. While reversing on the road, it is important to look out for vehicles and pedestrians coming in the way.
Overspeeding is not only detrimental to one’s life but can also result in excessive fuel consumption. As per 2020 reports by the U.S. Department of Transportation, speeding was a contributing factor in 29% of vehicle fatalities. Truck drivers often ignore speed limits in an attempt to complete their journeys quickly; however, it is important to know and adhere to the speed limits in different areas to ensure safety on the road.
Take regular breaks while driving
An essential pro-tip for truck drivers is to care for their physical health, especially while driving across long distances. Truck driving involves being sedentary for long hours, which can increase one’s risk of developing lifestyle diseases like high cholesterol and heart problems. It is essential to take regular breaks during long journeys and alight the vehicle to stretch one’s muscles. One may also perform some basic exercises during these breaks to stay fit and avoid lethargy. To ensure that one does not postpone break time while driving, it is a good idea to plan it before the journey begins.