Long-haul truckers know all too well that their life on the road can be harrowing and exhausting. Not only are they separated from their home base, but they also face sleep deprivation, dangers on the road, and dangers while parked to take a break. Here are some safety tips for long-haul truckers who might be starting out in the business, or seasoned drivers looking for new safety tips.
Keeping your truck in the best condition possible is the best way to assure safety on long hauls. While the truck should undergo a thorough and extensive inspection before a long journey, there are also things you should check every day before heading out on the next leg of the trip. These include checking fluid levels, adjusting mirrors, inspecting the tires to check for signs of flats, and making sure the couplings are secure. Any issues should be reported to dispatch and resolved before heading back out on the road.
2. Blind Spots
Blind spots for a truck driver can be a nightmare for other motorists, and a safety hazard overall. These include right behind the side mirrors, off to the side in the immediate front of the cab, and directly behind the truck. Because drivers of cars don’t always proceed with the caution they should, it’s up to the truckers to be exceedingly careful and exercise caution despite the frustration that can be caused by other drivers. Caution and awareness with blind spots can save lives.
Any trucker should know that the way you load the trailer is critical to the drive, but it’s worth a reminder. In order to maintain agility when maneuvering, it’s best to pack the trailer low and spread it out through the full space of the trailer rather than to stack high. This prevents drag and improves the use of fuel. If you’re looking for stronger coupling, consider investing in drawbar eyes.
What might sound like the ultimate no-brainer is sadly the neglected element that results in accidents and deaths. In fact, one-third of all fatal work zone accidents that occur involve large trucks. Taking the care to adjust the truck’s travel speed when moving through work zones (usually interstate construction projects) can save lives.
Any long haul driver is all-too familiar with inclement weather and the changes it can bring to driving the truck. Most of what will keep you safe in these situations will be the maintenance you did on the truck before setting out on the journey, and keeping sharp when moving through the conditions. The weather report is your best friend here, so have access to a radio station you can turn to for updates.
6. Self-Care (Sleep)
Making sure you get ample time to sleep can be hard, especially when you’re driving on a deadline with previous cargo. Having said that, the shipment will never arrive if something happens on the road due to your sleep deprivation. Long haul truckers are notoriously overworked and under rested, with pressure to drive through nights and go as long as possible until they need to stop for a rest. Don’t let this happen, since it could result in falling asleep at the wheel.