Life as a truck driver can be an adventure. However, you need to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself first and foremost.
You’ll be better able to enjoy your travels, and the new scenery that you get to take in when you’re a safe driver and able to avoid accidents. How can you make this happen?
Use these truck driver safety tips to get the most out of your career and your health.
1. Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is a truck driver’s best friend. However, too many drivers don’t get enough sleep when they go about their routes every day.
The fact of the matter is that 50% of drivers said that they have gotten behind the wheel while seriously sleepy. What’s more, 25% said that they have fallen asleep while driving!
You make your job much harder and more dangerous than it has to be when you fail to get sleep the night before you hit the road. No job is worth your life, so keep yourself out of harm’s way by making sure that you get 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night.
Choose some overnight stays that will help you get comfortable, recuperate, and recover each night. It’s better to spend a little bit more on a comfortable hotel, rather than save money and bunk up somewhere that will have you tossing and turning all night.
2. Plan Out Your Routes and Navigation
You’ll always be safer on the road when you know where you’re going. Take the time to plan out your navigation so that you don’t run the risk of missing turns and exits.
Using your GPS or cell phone navigation is fine, but you should research maps and routes well in advance. Relying too heavily on your technology to help you navigate will also make you more likely to drive distracted, which is another cardinal sin of truck driving.
3. Keep Your Truck Maintained and Repaired
Your truck is an investment, so do everything possible to keep it maintained and repaired. This means getting oil changes, fixing the engine, and hitting every weigh and inspection station.
If your truck is up to par you will be less likely to deal with parts and equipment malfunction and can keep it running soundly for years to come. Take care of your fluids, get your brakes checked and make sure that the truck is durable and well-maintained enough to haul whatever inventory your job depends on.
4. Stay Up to Date With Your Driving Experience and Skillset
Being a quality driver is the ideal way to stay safe.
Continuously brush up on and continue your education to learn new tips and tricks for navigating the road. Truck drivers can get new certifications that teach them how to do more. This also allows you to take on new and different jobs.
Experience is everything, so make every job a learning experience, rather than just something that you’re trying to get through. Don’t take your work for granted, and always act with professionalism as you build your expertise.
5. Cut Out All Distractions When You Drive
Distracted driving is dangerous, and potentially deadline. Put your cell phone away or mount it when you drive, and keep your eyes on the road.
Avoid taking phone calls unless absolutely necessary, or connect it to a hands-free, Bluetooth system that allows you to talk while you drive. Never text and drive and also leave the apps alone.
Many of today’s Bluetooth systems allow you to access media with voice commands so that you never have to touch your device. Of course, never, ever, drink and drive, even if you’ve only had a few.
Not only does this put your life in danger, but when driving a huge semi-truck, you are taking everyone else’s lives into your hands. Safety aside, getting a driving under the influence (DUI) charge on your record can cause you to lose your truck driver’s license, which will ruin your career prospects and earning potential.
6. Mind Your Speed and Road Conditions
Always pay careful attention to speed limits and road conditions when you drive. For best results, research these details the day before so that you are aware of the weather forecast and the speed limits that you’ll be dealing with along different routes.
Make scanning the road a habit, so that you’re prepared to anticipate what other drivers are going to do. As a rule of thumb, scan 15 seconds ahead of where you are so that you aren’t waiting until the last minute to slam on the brakes.
If the weather conditions aren’t ideal, you should definitely lower your speed and increase your braking distance to be on the safe side.
7. Wear Your Seatbelt
This is such an underrated tip that should go without saying, but can’t be stressed enough. Because so many truck drivers drive several hundred or a few thousand miles regularly, they often take off their seat belts to get more comfortable.
It’s not worth it, because you greatly increase your likelihood of getting seriously hurt in an accident.
Work with a truck accident attorney if you do happen to get into an accident, and always strive to be safe when you’re on the road.
Follow These Truck Driver Safety Tips
Let these truck driver safety tips help you when you’re navigating the road. Stay aware of road conditions and always strive to get better as a professional.