We are starting off our series of truck driver tips and information on our blog. And we are delighted to start it off with one of the most crucial aspects – Safety on the road.
Trucking is one of those careers that is more of a lifestyle than your regular 8-5 job. It is more of a mental job than a physical one. Having the right mindset in trucking is essential to the well being of the driver. The job is difficult and can get unmanageable and stressful. Especially for over-the-road drivers who usually spend weeks on end away from their family and on the road.
Apart from being away from family and friends for long, or living in a truck for a long period of time, truck drivers have to worry and understand a lot of rules and regulations when driving. Picking up loads, deliveries, weight rules, hours of service management, trip planning, and any additional rules that a truck driver needs to understand. So they can navigate the roads without any penalties to their driving and safety record.
In this article, you can find our truck driving tips that we gathered from experienced truck drivers, safety officers, and dispatchers. Tips they believe would be helpful, and even essential, to a spotless driving record, and a thriving trucking career. To start off our series of blog posts, we will give you the safety advice we gathered from safety directors, and the FMCSA. And general advice that will help you maintain your safety and the safety of other motorists on the road.
Navigating an 80,000.00 lbs rig on the roads is difficult no matter what. So ensuring your safety, and that of your surroundings is a task the driver should not take lightly. Always ensure to check all of your blind spots, and take your time doing narrow turns. Get out and look before backing up and be wary of other drivers as well. A lot of drivers on the road forget how difficult it is to operate, stop, or turn a big rig like the one you are driving and put themselves and others in danger on the road.
Commercial drivers have to be constantly aware and vigilant when driving. This way drivers can detect unexpected road conditions, distracted drivers, and the above-mentioned motorists who don’t know how commercial vehicles operate.
– Know when to slow –
Driving too fast for weather or road conditions creates extra risk for spills, rollovers, accidents. And in general, it is a risk you don’t want to take.
– Make sure to detail your pre-trip safety inspections –
Especially for tires and breaks your life first and foremost depends on that. And as a bonus, your driving record and pocket will not suffer. Make sure your load is balanced and secured, and that you scaled your truck pre- and post pick-up as to not go above the weight limit for tractor-trailers. These can both be a danger for your safety. Same to other motorists on the road, and a danger to your record as well.
– Put your seat belt on –
Put your seat belt on every time! Having your seat belt on saves lives reduces injuries, and keeps drivers in the vehicles in case of a crash.
– Get rest and stay sharp –
Get enough rest if you are feeling fatigued or can’t focus on the road, or are in general feeling unwell. You are most productive when you are well-rested. You will also avoid major delays from accidents, wrong turns, or general impromptu obstacles when driving.
– Plan your trips!! –
Some states have very narrow roads or low bridges where you and your truck will not pass. Unless you want to cause major traffic delay, load delay, and damage to your truck and trailer. Make sure you are aware of roads and routes you can take with your truck when you have your pick up and delivery. There are many height and weight limitations all over the US, that most non-commercial navigation systems will not remind you of. Save yourself a future headache by planning your route and familiarizing yourself with road and weather conditions on your trip.
– Never drive distracted –
When your rig is moving, your phone has only a couple of places it can and should be! That is in your pocket or on a holder, and away from your eyes. Texting while driving, apart from being dangerous on the road for you and other drivers, is also a major safety violation that most insurance companies will not be okay with. That is especially important when you think of your career prospects and potential job changes. Apart from cell phone usage, distractions on the road can be any other activities you engage with when the wheel is in your hands (eating, drinking, using your GPS, etc.) so just be extra careful when driving.
– Better late than sorry –
We all know that sometimes drivers are crunched with time to make a pick-up or delivery. So the majority of the drivers speed on highways and roads, but speeding can cause several issues for truck drivers that are definitely a bigger problem than you missing your appointment. Major speeding violations stay on your record. Therefore, a lot of the better companies will forgo an applicant with such a violation on their record. You will also pay a hefty fine which will cut more from your check than the load you would’ve missed. And let’s not mention the road hazard speeding drivers are for everyone on the road.
BONUS TRUCK DRIVER TIPS:
– Check mirrors every 7-10 seconds to be aware of your surroundings on the road, like vehicles entering your blind spots.
– Scan ahead for 15 seconds (quarter-mile/one-two city blocks) for any incoming traffic issues, work zones, and any other dangers on the road.
– Signal and brake to give other drivers plenty of time to notice your intent.
It is understandable that drivers will often forgo some of these tips in order to get the job done on time or faster, but the consequences of that can be worse than being late on a load or missing an appointment. Take your safety, the safety of other drivers, and your truck in the first place and diligence will pay off majorly – your experience and focus will make your job easier, and you will be on the fast track to improve and excel in your career as a safe truck driver, no matter what company you are in.
We hope our truck driver tips will be a help to you even if you are a new or experienced driver. And please do share this article with anyone you think will benefit from it.
If you are interested in driving for Z Transportation, we’ll be more than happy to have you. Simply go on our website www.driveforz.com and fill up the application. We’ll be expecting you.