Road safety is a top priority in the trucking industry. The National Transport Insurance Company reported a striking increase in truck driver fatalities in 2019, tallying a number that is twice as high as any year in the past decade.
Protecting yourself and other people on the road does not need to be complicated and costly. Here are 10 ways you can stay away from danger without breaking the bank.
1. Use your seat belt.
Studies indicate that approximately 1 out of every 6 truck drivers in the United States do not use their seat belts. Not only is it required by law, but it is also the most effective way to reduce injury. Around 40% of accident-related deaths happen each year because the driver did not wear their seat belt.
In Australia, the wearing rate for light vehicles is at 90% while the rate for truck drivers is only at 75%.
2. Take note of your truck’s interior design.
The position of the instrument panel, switches, cab insulation, and cruise-control steering is crucial. Set the seat height, steering wheel, and backrest depending on your height and weight to ensure maximum comfort.
Your movement should not be overly restricted. Your legs should not be prone to cramps because of limited space.
3. Never miss pre-trip and post-trip inspections.
A thorough pre-trip inspection prevents you from leaving the facility with a truck that has an existing problem. On the other hand, a good post-trip inspection enables you to correct a problem before you go back on the road.
Not all drivers are aware of the problems they need to look out for. You need to allot some time to undergo training on performing inspections correctly. It is also essential to understand how each part of the truck fits together.
4. Check your cargo.
How you load your cargo also plays a role in road safety. Shifting cargo can cause your truck to fishtail or tip around corners. Always check that the load is properly secured to keep it in place throughout the trip.
Tall stacks can also cause problems. They pose a tipping danger because they add weight on the top load. Maximising the free space on your truck decreases the chances of the load tipping over and improves road safety. It also helps conserve fuel by reducing drag on your truck.
5. Follow road signs.
The road signs exist for an important reason, and that is to keep all road users safe. Sometimes drivers are tempted to go beyond the enforced speed limit, especially if they are already running late.
Speeding may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Speeding usually occurs when you encounter uneven surfaces, sharp curves, construction hazards, and other roadblocks. Paying attention to road signs and following them faithfully will help prevent you from getting into an accident.
6. Choose a lane.
You can’t manoeuvre your truck like a Maserati. You will not be able to switch lanes quickly. Choose a lane and stay in it for the majority of your trip. Keep out of the right-hand lane if you are passing through a city. Change lanes only if necessary.
If you really need to switch lanes, turn on your signal light, and let it stay for at least five blinks. It makes sure that people are aware of your intention. Always check your mirror and take note of your blind spots.
7. Always bring tools that will help you in road condition changes.
Road conditions can be quite unpredictable, and this is especially true for long-haul drivers that travel across different states or regions. The two conditions that affect road safety the most are weather and traffic.
Bumper-to-bumper traffic makes vehicles stop and go constantly. Bad weather conditions such as hail, rain, ice, and snow affect drivers’ visibility and make the roads slippery – all of these increase the chances of accidents to occur.
Dispatch management solutions allow you to prepare for these situations. They give live weather and traffic map overlays for you to know areas that are not safe. Applications are available to help you reroute and avoid bad road conditions.
8. Make defensive driving a habit.
A defensive driver is always on the lookout for possible danger and changes in driving conditions. Being alert allows you to make safe and well-informed decisions while you are behind the wheel. Defensive driving techniques reduce accidents and injuries.
You do not need to worry about expensive repairs, insurance premium increase, and claim payouts when you do these techniques:
- Watch out for blind spots.
- Follow the 3-second rule. The time the car in front of you reaches a certain point and the time you reach the same point should differ by 3 seconds.
- Remain calm and composed. Don’t indulge in road rage behaviour.
- Always signal when changing lanes or turning.
9. Take a well-deserved break.
A defensive driver needs to have an alert mind to make rational decisions on the road. You will not be able to think clearly if you are experiencing fatigue. Do not deprive yourself of rest.
If you are not feeling well, taking medications that make you sleepy, or feeling drained to start with, do not risk it. Take some time off even for a few hours. If you are already on the road, find a nice pit stop to stretch your legs and walk around. You can use this as an opportunity to check for any problems such as flat tyre or leaks.
10. Give ample space in front of your rig.
The idea of leaving a big space in front of your vehicle is frustrating especially if you are travelling at 50 mph. However, this will protect you from danger. The space in front serves as a buffer zone that will protect you and your truck.
Anything that goes wrong on the road usually happens in front of you. This buffer zone gives you a chance to correct or slow down if needed.
Learn more about truck driver safety with Chris Shilling Transport Training.
Attending just one training about safety is not enough to become fully confident on the road. You tend to forget important details or be complacent. Chris Shilling Transport Training offers several budget-friendly courses to equip you with the skills and knowledge you need. Contact us today at 0434 366 758.