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7 Truck Driver Safety Tips for Pro Truckers

November 5, 2015

truck driver safetyTruck driver safety is on the mind of every professional truck driver. And, it should be. According to the U.S. Labor Department, more truck drivers were fatally injured on the job than workers in any other single occupation. Here’s a list of 7 truck driver safety tips.

1. Pre-Trip Inspection

It’s in your best interest to find issues before an inspector does. A 30-minute truck inspection can save you hours and money in the long run. Some important things to check include tire wear, water leaks, air leaks (which ruin your brake lines), springs and bolts, lights and chafing of air hoses. Protect yourself from mechanical breakdowns and potential accidents by ensuring that your truck is safe and compliant with both state and federal regulations. Avoid CSA violations with a thorough pre-trip inspection.

2. Regular Truck Maintenance for Safer Driving

Drivers are responsible for keeping their trucks maintained and in good driving condition. Comply to quarterly safety inspections and routinely check tires, lights and brakes. Doing so will help to prevent potential problems and CSA maintenance violations.

3. Follow Weather Reporting

Hazardous winter weather and unsafe road conditions are common across the country. Always map your routes and try to avoid extreme weather conditions if possible. In the winter, remove ice and snow from your truck for greater visibility. Also, prepare an emergency kit just in case. A good rule of thumb is to cut your speed down by one third on wet roads and by one-half in snowy or icy conditions. Give yourself plenty of time for maneuvers in bad weather.

4. Take Frequent Breaks

FMCSA’s federal regulations require that truck drivers take a 30-minute break during the first 8 hours of every shift. There is also an 11-hour daily driving limit and a 14-hour work day requirement. Whenever you get a chance, make frequent stops to stretch your legs or sleep. Fighting fatigue creates a dangerous situation for yourself and other drivers on the road.

5. Stay Alert & Pay Attention

Long hauls can become extremely tiresome. The best preventative measure to stay safe on the road is to take care of yourself. Take small, short power naps on longer routes. Eat healthy meals high in protein and complex carbohydrates for stamina. When you get tired, pull over and stretch your legs. And most importantly, stay hydrated! Dehydration is one of the leading causes of fatigue, so make sure to drink plenty of water.

6. Reduce Speeds on Curves and in Work Zones

Did you know that almost one third of all fatal work-zone accidents involve large trucks? Always take your time in construction zones, and watch for workers. Remember – speeds on exit and entrance ramps are usually posted for cars, not for trucks. Make sure to set your speed much lower than the posted speed limit when entering and exiting interstate ramps.

7. Keep Your Distance

Leaving extra room in front of your rig will keep you out of trouble. If anything happens, odds are it will happen ahead of you. The more space you leave in front of you, the more opportunity you’ll have to correct and slow down, should something occur.