Top 7 Truck Driving Tips to Prevent Accidents

Commercial vehicles pose a unique threat on the road because of their size and strength. The repercussions are often devastating when a truck collides with a car or even another truck. While it is true that vehicle equipment failure can set off a chain reaction of misfortune in a vehicle, human error is still one of the major causes of automobile and truck accidents.

Truck drivers instigate costly accidents in several ways, from rushing to reach the next location on time to being inattentive. However, the good news is that it is possible to maximize road safety by taking a proactive approach and learning and implementing road safety tips for truck drivers. Read on to learn X truck driving tips to prevent accidents.

Essential Truck Driving Tips

Truck collisions are a serious problem in the United States. These accidents not only put people’s lives in danger but also cost billions of dollars to the industry annually. Here are some road safety guidelines and essential truck driving tips that can help avoid accidents on the road.

1.      Know the Posted Speed Limit

This one goes without saying – all vehicles must adhere to the speed limit set for any stretch on the road. Sometimes it is important to remind yourself that the speed limit is the fastest you can go, not the required minimum. In other words, it is okay to drive a little below the speed limit. This is especially true if you’re driving in hazardous conditions, such as heavy rain or fog, or if there are children or other vulnerable road users nearby, you should reduce your speed.

Truck drivers also feel the pressure to make deliveries quickly. However, it is important to understand that although transporting your freight promptly and efficiently is an essential component of your profession, neither you nor your employer will benefit from overspeeding. Road safety should always be your top priority.

Keep in mind that many truck accidents occur at high speeds on the highway, but all trucks must exit the freeway at some point to reach their destination, and truck accidents can and do happen on streets and in close proximity to distribution centers and other drop-off points. So, take the time to learn about speed limits in different areas and drive accordingly.

2.      Plan Ahead When Delivering In a New Area

You might expect to make deliveries in unfamiliar areas, especially if you work on a dedicated freight model. You should know your way there just as well as the locals. However, trucks are often restricted from using certain streets, entrances, exits, and underpasses. It is advisable to familiarize yourself with the area in advance.

While helpful, a GPS isn’t always tailored to the requirements of a large vehicle. It’s also not a comprehensive mapping solution. For a complete view of your trip, it is best to compare a map and GPS before starting the trip. It’s important to be aware of bridge and trestle clearances in advance to avoid creating a hazardous situation if your truck becomes trapped.

If possible, talk to a driver who has delivered on the route before. They might be able to give you pointers regarding any troublesome situation you may encounter on the route. Another alternative is to get in touch with the receiving department at the delivery location to see if they have any advice on gaining access to the loading area.

It is expected that they would provide information about problematic places, such as those that are overrun with traffic or have insufficient sidewalk space. Planning ahead may seem like a time-consuming activity, but in reality, it can save you a lot of time and trouble on the road.

3.      Know Your Truck or Flatbed Carrier

One of the most important safety tips for truck drivers is to know their vehicles. As a truck driver, your job entails spending long stretches of time alone with your truck on the open road. Being familiar with your truck or flatbed carrier is crucial for reducing the likelihood of an accident. A driver’s ability to identify the source of a strange noise or rattle while on the road and determine whether or not it warrants attention can be crucial to maintaining their safety.

Regular wear and tear is a leading cause of accidents in any vehicle. Maintaining a well-maintained truck, including working brakes, tires, steering, etc., is just as crucial as wearing safety gear and paying attention to the road. Also, it’s important to double-check that you have everything you need on the road before setting out.

Phone and charger, license and permits, GPS, maps and instructions for delivery, and a trip kit are all examples. You can make a personal checklist to make sure you never leave your road essentials behind.

4.      Know Your Freight

Truck drivers must be aware of what they are transporting and have a plan in place for dealing with any potential emergencies. Even a minor collision can have serious consequences if you are carrying hazardous materials or other items that could cause harm to the environment or other drivers.

Before setting out on the road with garbage or hazardous products, you should confirm with your dispatcher or relevant state agencies whether or not you’ll need special permission. There are regulations that must be followed when transporting explosives. It may affect decisions like choosing a route, parking alternatives, and leaving the vehicle unattended.

Your job is crucial, and it comes with great responsibility; as such, you should know everything about the freight, plan ahead, and prioritize safety for yourself, those around you, and the environment.

5.      Stick to Your Sleep Schedule

Keep your driving time within legal limits, and rest up before hitting the road. The length of time you can spend driving, the number of breaks you must take and the minimum amount of time you must spend asleep are all subject to stringent laws. As a truck driver, these guidelines could prove to be the most vital of all.

When behind the wheel, a driver who is sleepy is a threat to everyone on the road. We get it; product distribution schedules and time constraints all need to be met. It’s not a walk in the park, so you’ll need to maximize your efficiency to succeed. Yet, it’s crucial to maximize productivity without sacrificing enough rest. So, always rest thoroughly before getting behind the wheel, and don’t go over the allowed driving time. Also, take breaks, eat responsibly, and stay vigilant.

Furthermore, you should avoid getting behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking or using drugs. Tired truck drivers may be tempted to use illegal stimulants to keep themselves awake on the road. However, doing so increases the likelihood that you will engage in risky behavior while driving. Plus, when the effects of the stimulants wear off, you’re actually more prone to nod off behind the wheel. Therefore, the only real and healthy solution is to get proper sleep and plenty of rest.

6.      Know When Not to Rely on Spotters

You can put some trust in your spotter, but only up to a certain level. As a vigilant truck driver, you should still double-check everything yourself. A spotter is useful in many contexts, but usually, they only keep an eye on a small portion of the truck or flatbed carrier. It’s possible that they’re not looking at the front right corner. Alternatively, perhaps they are focusing on the trailer’s rear and not the top.

When there is only one person acting as a spotter, everyone else must take responsibility for monitoring the points as well. If you need to get out of the truck to see something, do it. The best course of action is preventative caution. It can save you a lot of trouble.

7.      Be Attentive & Keep Your Distance

Pay close attention to the road at all times since you never know what kind of vehicle, big or tiny, may be around you. The failure to stop at red lights or obey stop signs precludes this. Instead, drive slowly and cautiously to avoid accidents. Taking your time means not rushing into a delivery or a truck stop. The more vigilant you are when driving, the better you’ll handle unexpected events.

Keeping a good distance from moving vehicles is also one of the most effective ways to avoid collisions. It will give you space in case something happens. The risks associated with tailgating are real. If you move too close to a vehicle and the driver has to brake suddenly, you could be rear-ended by another vehicle. Keeping a reasonable distance from other vehicles on the road is essential for preventing accidents.

The Bottom Line: Adopt a Proactive Approach to Road Safety with RSB

While truck drivers are responsible for their safety and other motorists on the road, it is the employers’ or owner-operators’ responsibility to periodically review road safety tips for truck drivers.

RSB is the leading logistics and transportation company in the US. We care about not only our customers but also our drivers and partners. Become part of the RSB team to ensure road safety for all. Visit our website or call 866-616-7540 to learn more about RSB and explore new opportunities in logistics and dedicated freight.

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