Safety Tips for Heavy Duty Trucking
For heavy-duty truck drivers, safety is often the number one priority. From personal and cargo safety to protecting your investment, whether you own your truck or its part of a fleet, getting from A to B can present many more hazards than driving a smaller vehicle. To help you stay safe behind the wheel and out on the road, we’ve put together some easy heavy-duty trucking you can follow to make trip safety a little easier.
Wearing your seatbelt sounds simple enough, after all, it’s the first thing many drivers do when entering a vehicle, some even before turning it on. But did you know that nearly one in six truck drivers don’t wear their seatbelt? This lack of concern for personal safety accounts for roughly 40% of vehicle-related fatalities each year. Protect yourself by wearing your seatbelt every single time you get behind the wheel. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to safeguard yourself and others in your truck in an accident.
Slow Down and Follow Posted Speed Limits
Obeying the posted speed limit is another easy step you can take to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road. At first thought, it might seem ok to drive just a few miles per hour over the limit, but the few minutes you may save in the long run are nothing compared to the consequences of speeding, especially in a heavy-duty truck. Remember that the faster your speed, the longer it takes to stop your truck. Whether it’s an obstacle on the interstate or a four-way stop sign in town, following the speed limit will help ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.
Investing in a hands-free system for your truck cab is a great way to prevent distracted driving. Easily keep tabs on your location, get directions to the next rest stop or Nextran service center, make calls via voice commands, and even send speech-to-text messages to loved ones — all without picking up your phone or taking your eyes off the road. Whether it’s a Bluetooth device or an update to your dash equipment, going hands-free will help reduce the potential for accidents.
Don’t Drink and Drive
Just don’t do it. Not only does it increase the likelihood of an accident as your senses become impaired, but it also puts you and others at extreme risk of bodily injury, or worse. You also risk severely damaging your truck and the cargo. Never drink and drive, and if you’ve only had ‘just one’ and think you’ll be fine, think again. Give yourself enough time for the alcohol to leave your system completely before getting back behind the wheel. It’s just not worth it.
Know Your Vehicle
Knowing your vehicle is a must. From understanding how long it takes you to come to a full stop to knowing how long your truck is from end to end, having a complete understanding of everything about your truck will make you a safer driver and help protect those around you. Other things help too, such as knowing your turning radius (do you take up two lanes when turning?) and how to diagnose things when they go wrong. If you need any help with diagnosing or repairs, stop into any Nextran USA center on your route.
Plan Your Trip
Planning your trip goes a long way in the name of safety. Knowing where your end destination is and how to get there can be one thing, but knowing where you’ll stop for food, rest breaks and fuel can prevent a lot of unnecessary driving. Plus, you’ll have advanced knowledge of the roads you’ll need to navigate, and you won’t be surprised by narrow passages, low bridges, or other obstacles.
Prepare for Anything
In addition to all of the above, there are two more things that can contribute to excellent road safety for heavy-duty trucking: eating healthy and getting a good night’s rest. Keeping to a healthy diet, getting out and stretching throughout the day, and taking any needed medications can help prevent things like sudden low blood sugar and acute back pain. Getting enough sleep at night, or even taking a strategically planned catnap during the day, can prevent hazards associated with tired driving.
Following these heavy-duty truck driving tips can protect you, those around you, your truck, and the cargo you’re hauling. These are all easy to do and will have a big impact on your trip. Make road safety a part of your daily routine.