5 Ways to Increase Driver Safety on the Road
There is no denying that the trucking industry has many facets. But with the increased focus of the industry being to retain and recruit more drivers, staying up-to-date on ways to improve driver safety, comfort and support is imperative. In order to make roads safer, drivers and their fleet managers should keep these tips in mind.
Be Aware of Speed Limits
On long hauls, particularly interstate trips, speed limits can change quickly without proper signage. Drivers and fleet managers should take a look at the routes before starting the trip in order to gauge where potential quick changes in speed limits could occur. Similarly, knowing and obeying the speed limit at all times will not only help fuel efficiency but is paramount to ensuring a successful and safe delivery. The large height and weight of the average truck make it significantly more difficult to stop than a smaller vehicle. Being aware of the speed limit allows more time to brake and avoid a collision compared to a truck driver who is speeding.
Keep Weather in Mind
Always check the weather and road conditions, as well as your wipers and brakes, before heading out onto the road. Inclement weather is a major contributing factor to highway and traffic-related accidents. Black ice, heavy rain, and snow often cause drivers to lose control due to lack of visibility or poor traction control. Paying attention to weather patterns is instrumental to ensuring your own, and others, safety while driving. When driving through less than ideal conditions, it is important to stay vigilant to the cars around you and drive slowly to prevent an accident. It is also imperative to note the signaling laws during poor weather conditions in the state of which you are driving. For instance, Florida forbids the use of hazard lights while driving in poor conditions as it is reserved solely for vehicles that have stopped due to an emergency.
Personal health plays a crucial role in driver safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths in 2013. This is due to lack of sleep causing a decrease in reaction time, making drivers more prone to collisions. Getting a good night’s sleep means your reaction time and awareness will be operating at peak capacity, ensuring a safer path of travel. Maintaining a balanced diet is also important. Junk foods and sugary drinks can cause drowsiness and increase the risk of heart attacks or other unpredictable health problems, so it’s best to avoid them at all costs.
Stay Off Your Phone
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents. Text messaging while driving increases the risk of a crash or near-crash by 23 times according to the Virginia Technical Transportation Institute. Even talking on the phone is a cognitive distraction that causes your mind to wander from the task of driving. Many states have laws against the use of cellphones in any capacity while driving. For these reasons, it is best to keep your eyes, and mind, off the phone and on the road at all times to increase driver safety.
Don’t Use Drugs or Alcohol
Driving under the influence not only endangers your life and the lives of everyone else on the road, it’s also a felony. If you are fortunate enough to avoid causing an accident, you are still likely to be pulled over for driving erratically, which could lead to losing your job, charges and potential jail time.
As the industry advances and new technology is implemented, it is important to remember simple steps to increase driver safety. Nextran Truck Centers is committed to providing fleets and their drivers with information, service and vehicles they can count on. If you have any questions, give us a call at any of our 16 locations throughout the Southeast.