When vehicles collide, accidents and injury happen. Which is why every driver has a responsibility to drive as safely as possible when they enter the roadway. As a truck driver, you operate a vehicle that is much larger than most cars you pass on the road, so it is important to think of extra measures you can take ahead of and during each shift.
In 2017 alone, nearly 5,000 large trucks and buses were part of fatal crashes, which was a 9% jump from the previous year. Although, you had to go through extra hoops to become a professional truck driver, there still might be skills you forget to implement, maintenance you delay or and personal habits you avoid. Meaning there are steps you can take everyday to try and stray away from contributing to the number of dangerous and fatal wrecks that happened each year.
Keeping up on maintenance
As a truck driver, you spend the most time with your vehicle. As such, you’d be most aware if the steering seemed a bit off, there was a mysterious crack in the windshield or it was taking longer than usual to come to a complete stop. Although, you might not be putting your money into the fixes, you still might procrastinate letting proper channels know your truck needs service. But it’s crucial to not delay this because in an instant a tiny window crack can worsen and shatter without warning or not being able to stop in time can cause a massive accident.
Getting enough rest
Taking on long shifts or working several days in a row can be tiring. When your job requires your full awareness, getting enough sleep and not just chugging caffeine to get through your shift is important. This is because drowsiness behind the wheel can lead to the same results as impaired driving — dosing off, swerving and crashing.
After passing your initial driving test and when you are alone on the road, there really isn’t anyone holding you accountable but yourself. That’s where defensive driving tactics can come into play and help prevent accident. Some tips to keep in mind through each drive, include:
- Being aware of the cars maneuvering around you, both those changing lanes and in blind spots
- Constantly looking at who’s ahead of you, behind you and at your side
- Signaling well before turning and changing lanes
- Making sure you aren’t tailing vehicles and that nobody is riding your rear
These might be tricks you already use. However, remembering that defensive driving can really allow you time to react if you perceive an accident is a good reason to always be alert, even if there isn’t a lot of traffic on the road. Plus, taking care of both yourself and your truck can help you excel in your personal life and career.