Essential Safety and Defensive Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

Ann Smith | Updated: 29-01-2022 11:23 IST | Created: 29-01-2022 11:23 IST
Essential Safety and Defensive Driving Tips for Truck Drivers
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Getting a license does not guarantee that you will become a successful truck driver. A typical day on the job requires knowledge of a plethora of safety rules and precautions. Even the most experienced professionals must keep an open-mind and prioritize safety. Discover the main tips to follow pre-trip and on the road.

1. Stay Healthy

Take care of yourself by eating, exercising, and sleeping well. Get at least seven hours of rest per night to stay focused.

2. Plan Your Route Carefully

Before hitting the road, check the weather, traffic conditions, and patterns. Find out about any construction zones and low bridges. Research state regulations. If the weather is bad, adjust for it. These rules are taught at and any other reputable school.

3. Ensure Comfort While Driving

Before turning the key, adjust your steering wheel, backrest, and seat height. Get your navigation device ready. Stop every few hours for a break, park your truck in a parking lot and walk a bit.

4. Eliminate Distractions

Using a mobile phone goes against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules. In bad weather and heavy traffic, turn off the radio, too.

5. Three Points of Contact

Don't get in or out of the truck before ensuring three points of contact. A firm grip with both hands prevents trips, slips, and falls. These are common causes of injuries.

6. Always Buckle up

Driving without a seatbelt on is illegal. It also increases the risk of being ejected in a crash by 3,000%!

7. Know Your Blind Spots

Be aware of your blind spots and maintain a safe distance while turning or switching lanes. Do not change lanes unless it is absolutely necessary. Set the mirrors and follow the "Take 10" rule (switch on signal for 3 seconds to check your mirrors, take 7 seconds for lane switch).

8. Slow Down on Curves

The official speed limit on exit and entrance ramps could be too fast for big trucks. Due to their center of gravity, they may tip over. Reduce the speed to 5-2 mph below the posted limit.

9. Think Ahead

Watch other drivers on the road to leave room for unexpected actions. Focus on the things you can control. Scan a block ahead in the city and a quarter-mile ahead on a highway.

10. Maintain Distance

Ensure sufficient room for stopping and following. A safe distance between a truck and vehicles ahead is 7-8 seconds in normal conditions and 14 seconds in bad weather.

11. Check Mirrors

Look at your west coast mirrors, hood mirrors, gauges, and the road ahead every 8-10 seconds.

12. Stay Visible

Switch on your lights in advance to tell other drivers about your plans. Use turn signals before turning and don't switch them off until the move is completed. Keep your headlights on from half an hour before dusk to half an hour after dawn.

(Devdiscourse's journalists were not involved in the production of this article. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)

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