By Susan Melony
The trucking industry is such an important part of America’s economy, helping to keep the country moving, transporting countless tons of freight from place to support, supporting imports, exports, and businesses of all shapes and sizes from one coast to the other, and helping to provide for approximately 80% of the nation’s communities.
In short, trucking is absolutely vital, and the country owes a great debt to those truckers who work tirelessly, driving huge and heavy vehicles long distances to get goods where they need to be. Not only is trucking often an overlooked and undervalued profession, but it also happens to be a particularly dangerous one, typically ranking in the ten most dangerous jobs of all.
Truckers often have to drive for long periods of time with minimal rest, and they also have to deal with the many challenges of operating such enormous vehicles, as well as coping with the risks and hazards faced by other road users. With so many dangers, it’s vital for truck drivers to practice safe driving and do what they can to protect themselves, and here are some tips you can follow for that.
When we get into any kind of vehicle, one of the first things we should do is attach our seat belt. This is a natural habit for countless people and many truckers too. Unfortunately, reports show that 1 in 6 truckers fail to wear their belts, putting their lives in danger.
Seat belts save lives. Countless statistics and studies support this, and even in trucks, belts are absolutely vital. Some truckers may make the mistake of assuming that they don’t need belts because trucks don’t tend to flip, fall, or spin in the same way cars can when accidents happen, but a belt is one of the best safety items in your vehicle, so make sure you wear it.
Stick to the Limit
The huge size of 18 wheelers means that they can take up to 40% more time to stop than cars, so if you suddenly need to brake or bring your vehicle to an unexpected stop, it can take a lot longer to do so. And in those extra seconds, a lot can happen and terrible accidents can occur.
This is why it’s vital to keep your wits about you at all times, maintaining a steady speed and adhering to limits and recommendations. Going over the limit is dangerous in any kind of vehicle, but it’s especially risky when sitting behind the wheel of a truck, as accidents involving such large vehicles are often among the most deadly and dangerous.
Take Breaks and Stay Hydrated
One of the big difficulties that truck drivers have to deal with all the time is the pressure of hitting targets, meeting deadlines, and covering long distances in set amounts of time. It’s a high pressure job, and the money you make can often be dependent on the targets you hit and how efficient you are, so it can feel like the clock is always ticking and you can’t waste a single second.
This is a common sensation among truck drivers, and it’s one that can lead to accidents, as some truckers forget their own personal health while rushing to their next location and trying to get the job done. You need to remember to look after yourself, taking breaks when needed, and making sure to stay hydrated and energized at all times.
Keep Distractions to a Minimum
It doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle you happen to be driving, distractions are always a major risk that you need to watch out for. They can cause a lot of accidents and even fatalities each and every year, and there are a lot of potential distractions for drivers to worry about.
Your phone, for example, is one of the worst possible distractions you can have. It’s so tempting for drivers to take a look at their phone now and then or try and send a message or make a call while driving, but every time you look away from the road, your risks of an accident start to increase.
Truck driving is a challenge. There are a lot of risks you face, every single time you get behind the wheel and set off on the road, and even the most experienced of truckers can end up in accidents due to inattention, negligence, or simple mistakes. Keep these tips in mind and stay focused to keep yourself and others safe.