Driving a big rig for a living is a noble career with a rich history. Truck drivers are the unsung heroes of the American economy. They drive long hours in order to keep the country on track.
Truck drivers understand better than anyone how difficult yet rewarding life on the road can be. After all, it's a demanding job that not everyone is cut out for. That's why every driver needs to have a complete understanding of good truck driver safety tips.
This article takes a look at 10 commercial driving safety tips to help you keep out of trouble on the highway. Keep reading to learn everything you'll need to know.
1. Truck Maintenance
It's no secret that one of the biggest things a truck driver can do to stay safe while on the road is to keep their truck in top running condition. This requires a basic knowledge of your rig as well as the discipline to beware of your rig at all times.
Semi trucks are complicated machines that take a lot of abuse on the road, clocking thousands of miles each week, hauling huge loads across the country.
The more you know about every inch of your truck, the better chance you'll have of keeping yourself, and everyone else on the road, as safe as possible at all times.
2. Avoid Drugs & Alcohol Use
Long hours on the road can become exhausting. A driver needs to have a clear head and be able to focus totally and completely on the road.
That's why you need to steer clear of drugs and alcohol at all times. These intoxicants have no place in the trucking business. You might be tempted to indulge in certain substances to help deal with the loneliness of the open road, but you need to handle it in a healthy way that won't impair your senses.
3. Plan Ahead
Truck driving is a fast-moving business. There's a ton of pressure to get from Point A to Point Z as quickly as possible. That's why it's crucial to take the time to plan ahead.
Once you know your destination, you need to research the route, locate alternate routes in case of emergency, and always be aware of places you can stop if the weather takes a turn for the worse or you experience mechanical difficulties.
Keep in mind that life is full of unexpected surprises, some good and some bad, thus the better prepared you are for the journey, the better the outcome.
4. Take it Easy at Turns & Curves
You're in a hurry. We get that. But there's no reason to be reckless.
When it comes to turns and curves in the road, you need to exercise caution. After all, you're driving a semi filled with freight, which can make it an enormous challenge to keep the truck under control when traveling at high speeds.
You might think you can handle the weight and speed, but there's no reason to take unnecessary risks. Take it easy out there and don't push your rig too hard.
5. Pay Attention to the Weather
It should go without saying that the weather is perhaps the biggest trucking safety factor involved in the trucking industry. Harsh weather conditions can make driving a semi a total nightmare.
Rain. Snow. Wind. Ice.
Each of these elements can create extremely hazardous conditions that threaten the safety of everyone on the road.
That's why it's so important to be constantly studying the forecast in the area where you're traveling. The more up-to-date you are about the conditions you're heading into, the better you'll be able to prepare, make plans, and decide how to proceed.
6. Get Plenty of Rest
Driving a truck is all about mileage. It can be tempting to skip sleep in order to get in as many miles each day as possible. The problem with this approach is that it takes a toll on both your mind and body.
You need plenty of sleep. That's just a reality of life. As your mind gets tired, your cognitive processes will begin to slow down, and your reaction time will lag, creating a potentially dangerous situation on the road.
Proper sleep is a vital part of being a good truck driver. You might think that you don't need it, but you do. Take the time each day to sleep, recharge, and take care of your health so that you'll be at your best when it matters most.
7. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Another aspect of staying healthy is to maintain a healthy diet. Spending so much time on the road, it's easy to fall into the rut of eating fast food. After all, fast food is quick, easy, and tastes pretty good.
Too much fast food is not good for you, however. Fast food lacks many of the fresh ingredients and vital nutrients necessary to keep your body operating optimally.
8. Stay Off Your Phone
Stay off your phone when driving. Period.
This is a big one. If you need to make a call, pull to the side of the road first. One of the keys to driving safety is to eliminate distractions, and talking on the phone is a huge distraction. What's more, it's against the law.
9. Take Breaks
Stop your truck at regular intervals and take breaks.
It's far too easy to become hypnotized by the road and let your mind wander. So get out, get some fresh air, eat a snack, then head out again.
10. Get Some Exercise
Lastly, make sure to get plenty of exercise. You'd be surprised how much this can help you be more comfortable at the wheel. After all, driving long hours can take a huge toll on your body.
Walking, running, and lifting weights to strengthen your back, legs, and arms, can have a significant impact on your long term health and make your time on the road far more tolerable.
Important Truck Driver Safety Tips
When it comes to driving a semi, there's nothing more important than staying safe while on the road. Fortunately, this list of truck driver safety tips can help.
Click here to learn everything you need to know about semi truck repair and maintenance.