The life of the American trucker has changed a great deal over the years; the industry has had to adapt to a rapidly shifting landscape with the introduction of new technologies, as well as differing attitudes towards the industry itself. One thing which has remained constant, however, is the pressure that truckers feel to keep their foot on the pedal and ensure that they cover large distances as efficiently as possible.
With such great emphasis placed on speed and efficiency, it is all too easy to forget about the fundamentals of driver safety, crucial though they are. Staying safe on the road is important for individual drivers, businesses that rely on them, and the industry as a whole. Regardless of any other pressures, we should all be striving to ensure that trucking remains a safe method of transporting goods.
We have collated some of the most important words of advice when it comes to trucker safety, these tips come straight from the mouths of truckers with decades of experience on the road.
Staying aware of your surroundings and remaining vigilant at all times is essential. This is true when driving any vehicle, but in the case of something as large and heavy as a truck it becomes doubly important. You should make sure that you are constantly aware of what other vehicles are around you and where they are located in relation to you.
Be Well Rested
Truckers, especially those who carry their cargo over very long distances, will already be aware of the importance of making sure that they get enough rest. A tired trucker presents a hazard to themselves and to other road users. You should make sure to take a rest break when appropriate and if you start to feel tired then pull over at the earliest opportunity. Also, remember that caffeine is no substitute for sleep! It might work in the short term but will ultimately leave you more fatigued.
Check Weather Reports
Some of the most common hazards faced by truck drivers are caused by weather conditions. Sometimes these are unpredictable, but often they are known about well in advance and therefore truckers can prepare themselves by checking weather reports regularly.
Know Your Vehicle
Most truckers will be driving a rig that they are intimately familiar with and have operated for a number of years. However, whenever faced with a new vehicle or piece of technology it is essential that you take the time to familiarize yourself with it and how it works. For example, if you are operating a VacuumXpress truck for the first time, then this will be a very different experience to operating a haulage truck.
Most truckers love their work. It is a profession which traditionally attracts a certain kind of individual, and those who feel the strongest draw to it are those who like the idea of a life on the road, the freedom it affords and the opportunity to be their own boss. Staying safe with trucking is largely a case of applying common sense and learning from experience and should be every truckers first priority.