Truck driving is a demanding profession that requires a high level of skill, responsibility, and safety awareness. The size and weight of commercial trucks can make them difficult to maneuver and slow to stop, making it essential to prioritize safe driving practices. Here are some tips for safe truck driving according to a truck accident lawyer from our friends at MartinWren, P.C.:
- Stay Alert and Focused: Pay attention to the road and the traffic around you at all times. Distracted driving can lead to serious accidents. Avoid using mobile devices, eating, or engaging in any activity that might divert your attention from the road. This can also include chatting with a passenger if it is too distracting.
- Adhere to Speed Limits: Due to their size and weight, trucks require more time to stop compared to other vehicles. Driving at or below the speed limit allows you more time to react to unexpected situations. Adjust as necessary for vehicles that merge in front of you.
- Take Care of Blind Spots: Trucks have large blind spots on all four sides, so it’s essential to be aware of other vehicles in these areas. Regularly check your mirrors and use turn signals in advance to alert other drivers of your intentions. Quadruple checking for potential cars is a good idea.
- Perform Regular Inspections: Before hitting the road, conduct a thorough pre-trip inspection of your vehicle. Check brakes, tires, lights, and cargo to ensure everything is in good order. Regular maintenance can help prevent breakdowns and accidents. You should also ensure that your truck is the weight that it should be.
- Manage Fatigue: Long hours on the road can lead to fatigue, which can seriously impair your ability to drive safely. Take regular breaks, maintain a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and get adequate sleep. If you are feeling sleepy and unable to pull over, blast cold air, loud music, and drink something cold until you are able to get to a safe place. The moment you notice any fatigue, start looking for a safe space to pull over.
- Plan Your Route: Knowing your route in advance can help avoid last-minute lane changes or turns. Use a truck-friendly GPS or navigation system that provides information on truck routes, low bridges, and weight restrictions; also ensure that your GPS provides you with what lane you should be in for turning and merging well ahead of time.
- Use Proper Loading Techniques: Improperly loaded cargo can make the truck difficult to control and may lead to accidents. Ensure cargo is evenly distributed and securely fastened after each delivery you make.
- Observe Weather Conditions: Weather conditions can significantly affect a truck’s handling. In severe weather, slow down, keep your distance, and pull over if it’s unsafe to continue — you should also not even start on your journey if you know the weather is unsafe.
- Drive Defensively: Anticipate potential hazards and the actions of other drivers. Always be ready to react to changing situations on the road from other people to weather conditions.
- Follow Regulations: Adhere to all transportation safety regulations, including hours-of-service rules that limit driving time to prevent fatigue. Your life and the lives of others are more important than your next destination.
- Use Safety Equipment: Always wear your seatbelt. If you need to exit your vehicle on the roadside, use safety triangles or flares and a high-visibility vest to alert other road users. Make sure any passengers wear their seatbelts and that all loose items are secured while driving.
- Continual Learning: Regulations and best practices change over time. Regularly participate in training programs to improve your skills and stay up-to-date.
Truck driving carries a great deal of responsibility. By prioritizing safety and following these tips, you can protect yourself, your cargo, and other road users, and contribute to safer roads for everyone. If you get into an accident, contact a lawyer near you for help.