Many of us travel for work. Some business people spend all their time in the sky on flights, some people travel by train but most of us spend our time travelling on the road. Delivery drivers and truck drivers especially play an integral in modern society, especially in the United States, where the trucking industry contributes so much to the country’s economy and helps to support over 80% of the nation’s communities. These life-long travellers see more of the country than most of us do in a life time. It is a great way to see new places and get paid at the same time. It also hard work and sometimes dangerous.
Unfortunately, truck driving is also one of the most dangerous occupations in America, with countless accidents occurring every year and truckers constantly having to deal with a whole host of risks that threaten their physical health, mental health, and general safety.
It’s not an easy job, nor is it a safe one, but there are ways in which truckers can help to keep themselves safer and reduce the risks they face. This guide will take a look at some simple tips you can follow to be a safer and smarter trucker.
Take Breaks Often
One of the first and most important tips to be a safe trucker is to make sure you take breaks as and when you need them. Due to the high-pressure nature of this job, it’s normal for truckers to feel like they need to rush to their destinations and hit their targets as quickly as possible, so they sometimes make the mistake of not taking breaks or failing to address when they feel fatigued.
This might seem like the only way for you to keep up with your working schedule and hit your targets, but in reality, failing to take a break when you feel tired is one of the worst possible decisions you can make and could even put your life in danger. Don’t be afraid to take breaks, as it’s much better to arrive at your destination safely, rather than running the risk of an accident caused by exhaustion.
Try to Minimize Distractions
It doesn’t matter whether you’re driving a truck, a car, a motorbike, or something else entirely, distractions are always a menace on the roads and can cause accidents with ease. Statistics show that thousands of fatal accidents occur every year because of drivers getting distracted by things like their smartphones or in-car entertainment systems, or trying to eat a snack without pulling over first.
Don’t let yourself become another one of those statistics. Minimize and eliminate distractions in your truck however you can. Remember the golden rule of never using your phone while driving, and always pull over safely first if you plan to eat a snack, drink a drink, or do anything else that might take your focus away from the road.
Female Drivers Have to Be Careful
It’s inspiring to see more and more female drivers in the trucking world, and hopes are high that this particular line of work will see more gender equality in the years to come and a great mixture of people of all genders sitting behind the wheels of trucks and supporting the nation’s communities in the future.
However, while this kind of progress is a positive sign, it’s also important to acknowledge that there are still some unique risks out there for female drivers to consider. When choosing a carrier, for example, it’s important to find one which is open and respectful to women drivers, and it’s also important to be careful at stops, where lighting is often poor and safety standards aren’t always the highest. Speaking with other female drivers and establishing a support network is also a wise move.
Cautiousness and Observation Skills Are Essential
As a truck driver, you need to have a certain set of skills, and you should always work on honing your techniques and becoming a better driver over time. Being cautious and observant of your surroundings at all times will help you stay safe and grow as a trucker, so try to get in the habit of driving defensively, keeping an eye out for hazards, reckless drivers, and other risks on the road ahead.
Often, other road users will want to get past trucks and can sometimes drive quite recklessly in the process. They might drive into your blind spots, for example, or get too close to the sides or back of your vehicle. Practice caution by maintaining a safe speed and keeping your distance from other vehicles, making regular use of your mirrors to watch out for anyone trying to get around you.
Driving a truck safely can be a real challenge, and there are many risks on the road that are simply beyond your control. However, while you might not be able to eliminate every single risk, you can take action to protect yourself and set a good example to others. Follow these tips to be the best trucker you can be.