Are You A Truck Driver? The 6 Tips To Avoid Getting Into An Accident
Unfortunately, driving a truck is one of the most dangerous jobs out there. Trucks are on the road all day and night and statistically are likely to end up in an accident. Many of these accidents can be avoided, however. There are ways that a truck driver can use some defensive driving tips to increase the odds of avoiding many accidents.
There are also a lot of times that drivers take on some risky behavior that also leads to accidents. By being aware of the actions that lead to accidents, changing behavior can drop the risk down by quite a bit.
In this article, we will go over several ways that a good truck driver can avoid many of the most common accidents on the highways today.
1. Make the truck safe
One of the biggest risk factors when it comes to accidents with trucks is the state of the truck itself. Trucks with mechanical issues are very hard to control and an accident is almost guaranteed when it isn’t properly maintained.
Be proactive when it comes to the truck as it is the lifeblood of your income and needs to also keep you safe on the road. It isn’t enough to keep up with the scheduled maintenance but to also be proactive when it seems like things are not working as intended.
Take the truck in for inspections even when they aren’t required according to the manufacturer’s owner’s manual. This will ensure that mechanical issues can be spotted ahead of time.
If the truck you own is often in the shop or is experiencing breakdowns on the road too often, then it is time to buy a new truck. Avoid another truck that has problems by buying new like one of these new International trucks for sale.
Even a new truck needs to have a walk-through done before getting back on the road. Check for fluids and tire pressure before heading out. Tires with the wrong pressure can end up blowing out and causing major damage to your truck and the surrounding vehicles.
2. Don’t drive distracted
It is very easy and equally understandable that long hours spent on the road result in boredom. To beat back the boredom of the road, some drivers will distract themselves while driving.
The problem is that taking the eyes off of the road even for a few seconds is enough to cause a major accident. Avoid sending texts or even reading ones that come in. Use software that reads texts for you so you know if there is an important one that came in. Then use a hands-free way to call the person back. Don’t be tempted to send a text back even if using your voice as it is far more distracting.
The best thing to do is to wait until you’ve reached a truck stop or a large rest area where you can pull off the highway and safely use the phone. Adding a few minutes to the trip shouldn’t be a big deal.
Distracted driving also includes fidgeting with a GPS or even eating a sandwich. Do these things when parked safely and off the road to avoid distraction while driving.
3. Get some rest
It is very tempting to forgo sleep to be able to make good time with your freight. After all, the earlier this job is finished the sooner the next one can start. Which adds up to more money in your pocket.
Not only is this not a good idea, but it is also against the law. There are only so many hours that a driver can be on the road within a 24 hour period. With GPS, it is clear when this rule is broken so make sure to pull off the road when approaching the limit and get some sleep.
Time can be made up by taking a better route or avoiding highly trafficked highways. Get creative in time-saving measures so you can make sure that you are rested on the road.
4. Pay attention to traffic
Every truck driver imagines smooth sailing for the entire trip. Unfortunately, traffic can crop up suddenly even without any explanation. Pay attention to what is happening ahead of the cars directly in front of you to avoid being caught unaware if a traffic jam is developing.
Make sure to have enough space in front of the truck to be able to stop in time if a backup happens quickly. Also, pay attention to where the runaway truck ramps are. If you need to stop quickly and there isn’t enough room, one of those ramps can help to avoid an accident.
5. Plan the trip well
Before heading out on the road make sure to research the route you plan to take. It could be that the planned route is not as efficient as once thought and a better one is available. It could also be that there is some road work or lanes closed that will create traffic. In this case, taking a longer route could save time in the long run.
Even weather needs to be considered before going. In certain parts of the country, there are tornados or blizzards that happen unexpectedly. Know the weather for the area where you need to drive and understand what to do if it appears that some severe forecasts are on the way.
6. Eat a healthy diet
It may seem unrelated to avoiding accidents, but the way you eat while on the road will have a big effect on your driving. Eating lots of processed foods will make you feel sluggish soon after. This can then make you drowsy and increase the chances of getting into an accident.
Make sure to cut way back on processed foods and refined carbs. Instead, load up on vegetables and fruit and bring some home-cooked meals along with you to reheat. Don’t overeat and munch on healthy snacks to tide you over between meals. Nuts and dried fruit are good snacks that will help give you energy when you need it.